Four ArtSports gymnasts qualify for Russian event

       Led by double winner Sam Chiacchia, all four entrants from ArtSports earned trips to the World Age-Group Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, based on their performances at the national qualifying event Sept. 25-26 in Las Vegas, Nev.
       The international competition Nov. 14-22 will be the first for any of the ArtSports foursome. Joining Chiacchia - who won the national age 13-14 trampoline as well as double-mini trampoline - will be Kristen Bowman (age 15-16 double-mini) and Philip Gifford/Cameron Heimerdinger (age 17-18 synchronized trampoline), who managed to place high enough in their events to be chosen for the American age-group team going to Russia.
       The ArtSports gym is in Holland Park, at 780 Vondelpark Drive.
       ArtSports coach Tex Womack described Chiacchia's wins as “real convincing. It was a hands-down victory, like a 30-10 football game.” This was despite a training injury just before Las Vegas that slightly limited the 13-year-old athlete's capabilities, the coach pointed out.
       Not knowing how the competition will be in Russia, Womack wasn't ready to hazard any guesses as to how the local kids will do there, but he believes that “without injury or any letdowns, they may have a good chance to medal.” He plans to build their training up steadily in the coming weeks, so that “hopefully they will hit a higher peak than they did for this one [Las Vegas].”
       A big challenge for each of the qualifiers will be the expense of the trip. A small amount of financial help should be available through USA Gymnastics, but otherwise most of the $3,000 cost per person will have to be borne by the athletes' families, Womack said.

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