Jayla Franklin works on her balance beam routine at practice Monday afternoon at the Nanaimo Gymnastics School. She and three of her teammates from the club will participate in the B.C. Winter Games this week in Penticton.

Jayla Franklin works on her balance beam routine at practice Monday afternoon at the Nanaimo Gymnastics School. She and three of her teammates from the club will participate in the B.C. Winter Games this week in Penticton.

Athletes get to go to Games

The B.C. Winter Games will be held in Penticton starting Thursday (Feb. 25), and a contingent of local athletes are participating.

Eighteen local youths will be going for gold at a major multi-sport extravaganza.

The B.C. Winter Games will be held in Penticton starting Thursday (Feb. 25), and a contingent of athletes, coaches and officials from Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay and Gabriola Island will be representing Vancouver Island at the four-day event.

Each has taken his or her own path to the Games. Adin Brenner of the Nanaimo Gymnastics School has participated at the event before and wouldn’t have normally been eligible, except that the Island needed one more member to be able to field an entry in the gymnastics team competition.

“My friend Ethan [Bryson] from here wouldn’t have had a chance to go for the team award if I didn’t go, so I decided it would be good for him to experience that,” said Brenner. “And I wanted to go, too … It’s going to be fun.”

He’s been focused lately on trampoline and tumbling, so returning to artistic gymnastics has been an adjustment and his hands are a tad sore from swinging around on the high bar. He anticipates doing well with his floor routine, vault and pommel horse, and is expecting good results from his three Nanaimo teammates.

“They all should do good. I mean, they had to make it,” Brenner said. “The girls had to beat out like 30 other people and they did it.”

The competition will be high-calibre, no matter the sport. Nanaimo Judo Club athlete Alicia Fiandor has been training intensively, not knowing whom she might face in her division.

“There’s people from all over the province. Some, it’s their first [high-level] tournament, some, they’ve been in the game for many years. So you never know what you’re going to get,” she said. “You’ve just got to prepare for everything. You’ve got to practise all your techniques a lot.”

This year’s B.C. Winter Games participants include:

Badminton – Justin (Szu Ting) Liu.Basketball – Tristan Dunn.Diving – Elena Castellon.Downhill skiing – Luke Hoefer.Figure skating – Kate Cameron, Olivia Bau.Gymnastics – Cassidy Bodnar, Ethan Bryson, Jayla Franklin, Adin Brenner.Judo – Alicia Fiandor, Akela Szasz.Karate – Coen Francis, Kyra Gillette, Caelin Haapala-Wilson, Mackenzie Kahk, Allie MacIntyre, Jason Valchar.Coaches – Mike Clark, badminton; Kym Sywak, basketball; Tyler Bidnyk, figure skating; Saskia Berndt, gymnastics; Tracy Welbourn, gymnastics; Eloy Fiandor, judo; Cheyenne Fiandor, judo; Amanda Birtigg; downhill skiing; Cyndi Lawson, wheelchair basketball.Officials – Evan Milne, karate; Marta Kroupa, rhythmic gymnastics.