Bezzoubenko, Canada’s dominant rhythmic gymnast since she burst onto the scene in 2010 as a junior phenom, isn’t the only competitor looking to book her ticket to the Pan Am Games this July in Toronto.
Among the other top contenders are Carmen Whelan and Katherine Uchida of Toronto, Ont., who both moved up quickly to fill the void left by the recent retirements of 2014 world championship veterans Maria Kitkarska of Montreal, Que., and Annabelle Kovacs of Vancouver, B.C.
“Patricia had to take a couple of months off after the last world championships but she’s back into full swing and has already achieved some personal bests this year,” said national rhythmic gymnastics team director Teresa Orr of Toronto.
Whelan, in her second year on the Canadian senior team, placed second at Elite Canada in March and Uchida finished third in her senior debut at the same event.
Based on results from both Elite Canada and the Canadian championships, the top two seniors will qualify for the Pan Am Games and the top three will also earn a berth at the world championships in September.
Canada’s team in the group event has already qualified for the Pan Am Games and will make a much anticipated appearance at this year’s Canadian championships as they gear up to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Members of the team are Katrina Cameron of Mississauga, Ont., sisters Anjelika and Victoria Reznik of Vaughan, Ont., Maya Kojevnikov of Richmond Hill, Ont., Lucinda Nowell of Kanata, Ont., and Vanessa Panov of Toronto, Ont.
In the junior competition, Athena Tsaltas of Georgina, Ont., and Ecaterina Cozma of Toronto, Ont., ranked first and second at last year’s Canadian championships, are the front runners again this year in a strong field.
Competition begins on Friday at the Richmond Oval with novice, junior, senior, and group competitions and runs through Sunday.