Oakville gymnasts earn podium spot

Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto of Chateauguay, Que. led a pack of Canadian and international Olympic gymnastics hopefuls from 10 countries on Sunday (March 11), winning a gold medal on uneven bars and bronze on balance beam on the final day of the Senior Cup competition at the 21st edition of Gymnix International at Montreal.

The medals were Dancose-Giambattisto’s second and third of the meet after her bronze medal finish in the all-around event on Saturday.

Overall, Canadian gymnasts took home a whopping 16 medals — including five gold — won by athletes who participated in the Senior Cup, Junior Cup and Challenge divisions.

Casey Carvalho of Oakville, who was third in the junior all-around, added a second bronze medal on beam. Sabrina Gill, also from Oakville, earned a bronze medal on floor routines.

Kaitlyn Hofland of Streetsville, Ont., second in the all-around competition, added two more silvers on vault and bars in the Senior Cup finals and 2011 world team member Dominique Pegg of Sarnia, Ont., coming back from a broken hand, dazzled with a new bellydance-themed floor routine to win a silver medal on floor.

Australian gymnasts dominated the Senior Cup competition, with multiple world medalist Lauren Mitchell winning titles on floor and balance beam. Teammate Emily Little, who won Saturday’s senior all-around title, added a second gold on vault (14.75 points).

Victoria-Kayen Woo of La Prairie, Que., won gold on vault in the junior division in a three-way tie with Belgium’s Ellen Rabaut and Australia’s Tamika Jones.

Woo also finished in bronze medal position on uneven bars.

Russia’s Maria Bondareva, winner of the Junior Cup all-around Saturday, impressed again with her difficulty and uber-clean execution on bars, beam and floor, taking first place on all three junior event finals.

In the Challenge Division, 16-year-old Ellie Black of Halifax captured gold on vault and silver on balance beam displaying international class difficulty on both events, as well as on the floor exercise, where she finished fourth.

Gabriella Douglas of Streetsville, Ont., bounced back from a fall on beam in the all around to win the event in Sunday’s final. Stefanie Merkle gave Canada a third gold in the Challenge Division in the floor exercise.

Other Canadian medalists in the Challenge Division were Madeline Gardiner of Cambridge, Ont., who finished third on beam, and Quebec’s Sabrina Tomassini won the silver medal on vault.

Toronto’s Peng Peng Lee won the all-around title in the Challenge Division on Friday night.