Local gymnast Isabela Onyshko will compete later this month in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Isabela Onyshko has made it through the Canadian gymnastics team’s training camp to prepare for the Commonwealth Games, and now she’s doing her final preparation back home before heading to Glasgow, Scotland, next week.
What the 16-year-old Brandonite, who was born in Minnedosa, did at the four-day camp in London, Ont., was just like any other training camp she has been to, but Onyshko admitted it felt different.
It was her first chance to get used to the Canadian coaching staff and meet her teammates.
Although she had competed against the other Canadian team members, Onyshko never really got a chance to get to know them until the training camp.
"It was sort of the first opportunity (to meet the rest of the Canadian team)," said Onyshko, who is the second Brandon Eagles gymnast to compete in the Commonwealth Games after Jenna Kerbis was in the 2006 event in Australia.
"During the competition you don’t really chat that much. If you travel with them, you really get to know them and I haven’t really travelled with them yet."
The Canadian team is heading overseas a week before the Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies on July 23, and they have a few training days in Glasgow before the artistic gymnastics part of the competition begins on July 28. It runs through Aug. 1, with the Games’ closing ceremony set for two days later.
The Commonwealth Games will be a very different experience for Onyshko. She has never been on a team like this before nor part of a contingent of athletes participating in various sports in one major competition. That difference does have her looking forward to the trip, though.
"That’s really exciting," she said. "It feels quite a bit different than just representing Canada as a gymnast and doing gymnastics separately.
"Other sports have other rituals for what they’ll do before. They maybe want to get really excited. It will be different because we don’t tend to do that in gymnastics."
To help Onyshko, the youngest member of the Canadian team, cope with a different atmosphere, she admits she may be leaning on a pair of Olympic gymnasts on the team, Ellie Black and Victoria Moors.
The Brandonite, however, is bringing some experience with her to Glasgow.
The Vincent Massey student competed in a pair of World Cup events, winning a silver on the floor in Croatia and bronze on the floor in Qatar before winning all-around silver, gold on the beam and another silver on the floor at the national championship in Ottawa.
Although she’s looking forward to the experience of representing Canada on the international stage again, Onyshko isn’t sure how many events she will participate in. That will be decided in the week of training before the Games begin.
Regardless of how many events she is in, Onyshko will try to hold herself to a high standard.
"Whatever events I’m in, I’d like to make finals in those events," she said. "That’s as much as I can say right now because I don’t know if I’m doing all-around or what events I’m in."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 7, 2014