Members of the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre pose for a photo. The Lion’s Pride Gymnastics Academy will be hosting the annual B.C. Gymnaestrada in Langford in 2019. (Gymnastics B.C. photo)

Lion’s Pride Gymnastics Academy to host 2019 B.C. Gymnaestrada

Event expected to draw hundreds of people to the region

When Jackie Wiebe decided to submit a bid for the Lion’s Pride Gymnastics Academy in Langford to host the 2019 B.C. Gymnaestrada, she had a feeling they would be selected.

Greater Victoria’s beautiful scenery was the perfect place to grow the audience of the sport. So when she received news the academy had been selected to co-host and organize the event alongside Gymnastics B.C., Wiebe was all smiles.

“It was pretty exciting. It will be nice to host such a large group of athletes from around B.C. and bring our community together and showcase what gymnastics is all about,” said Wiebe, owner and head coach of Lion’s Pride, noting this is the first year the academy has put together a gymnaestrada team with the help of head coach Sabrina Schilling.

“It’s not just about competitive gymnastics, gymnastics is for everyone … By that exposure it will interest other facilities to also participate and put together a Gymnaestrada team.”

Gymnaestrada (not to be confused with gymnastics) is the celebration of movement and physical activity in a non-competitive environment and allows participation for everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability.

As part of the 2019 Gymnaestrada, which is the largest recreational gymnastics event in B.C., anywhere from 22 to 30 clubs from around the province (and occasionally clubs from Alberta and Nunavut) will perform in Langford.

Keara Urquhart, Gymnastics Manager for All with Gymnastics B.C., said the organization received “several” bids to host the event. However, Lion’s Pride stood out for the 2019 campaign.

“We know Lion’s Pride has a good history of hosting great events and I don’t think they’ve had the opportunity yet to take on Gymnaestrada. We thought it would be a really great project,” said Urquhart, adding this is the first time it will be held in the West Shore and is expected to draw anywhere from 450 to 600 people for each of the two shows.

“There will be clubs, groups, parents and spectators travelling up to the Island, so you’re looking at local businesses, hotels and restaurants getting more volume around that time.”

This isn’t the first time the annual event has come to the Island. In 2013, it was hosted in Nanaimo. The 2019 B.C. Gymnaestrada will take place in May 2019 in Langford.

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