This was the second World Championships for both women. Whelan finished 60th overall in 2015 and put her best foot forward and moved up nineteen spots this year finishing the competition with 53.650 points overall. Uchida only competed in two apparatus in 2015 and improved tremendously in this year’s Championships.
Day one of the Championships was a little rocky for Whelan, who had a couple mistakes in both her ball and hoop routines putting her in 49th place overall heading into the final day of competition. Whelan’s ball routine scored 12.900 points, while her hoop routine scored 13.450 points.
Uchida also started the competition shaky, finishing her first two routines with an overall score of 25.400 points, sitting in 56th place. Uchida scored 12.800 on hoop and 12.600 on ball.
“Day one didn’t go as planned,” said Teresa Orr, National Team Director for Rhythmic Gymnastics at Gymnastics Canada. “Warm up went well and both women felt good, but small mistakes occurred during their routines, which affected their difficulty value and therefore impacted their artistry and execution scores.
On the last day of the qualification round, Whelan started with a bang, scoring 14.450 points in her clubs routine. That would give Whelan her highest apparatus finish of the championships, with 31st place. Whelan’s last routine was in ribbon, where she scored 12.850 points to solidify her 41st place in the all-around.
“The most important thing I will take away from this competition is how important consistency in training is,” said Whelan following competition. “In this sport, one drop is enough to knock you out of the competition. By watching how the more experienced gymnasts practice and analyzing what I can apply to myself in the future, I know that this is the main aspect I must improve on in training in order to perform consistent, clean routines in competition. This will also help to improve my confidence going into competitions by not worrying about the possibility of mistakes on a skill that may be inconsistent during practices.”
In her first event of the final day, Uchida struggled with her clubs routine and scored 11.250 points, her lowest of the competition. However, she didn’t let that affect her final performance, scoring 12.750 points in her ribbon routine and achieving her highest apparatus finish of the Championship. Uchida finished the all-around competition with 49.600 points overall.
“I learned a lot about how I need to prepare myself for competitions,” said Uchida. “I had to forget what happened on day one and continue with the competition. Unfortunately this sport works in a way that once a mistake is made you can’t take it back so the only way to look is forward. I also learned a lot from watching other competitors that are some of the best in the world. I was able to see how the gymnasts that I idolize prepare for competitions.”
Whelan and Uchida will now take a much deserved break and cheer on Team Canada’s rhythmic group, who will make their World Championship debut on Saturday. Group members include Elizabet Belittchenko (Toronto, ON), Renna Cukier (Kitchener, ON), Cleo Page (Ottawa, ON), Vanessa Panov (Toronto, ON), Anastasia Shanko (Toronto, ON), and Alexandra Udachina (Toronto, ON).
Carmen Whelan, Silhouettes of York – Aurora, ON
“It was such an incredible feeling to be able to represent Canada again at the World Championships. It’s always an honour to have the opportunity to compete on the world stage and after preparing all summer, overcoming injuries and pushing through the good and bad days of training. It’s a nice feeling to know that all your hard work is paying off!
I’ve always enjoyed competing and being able to go onto the carpet and show everyone what I can do, but on the first day, I was a little disappointed with my performances because I know I’m capable of so much more, and it wasn’t how I had hoped to start off the competition. Of course, you can’t expect perfection and I knew my goal for day two was to focus more on my apparatus handling. So that night, I went back to the gym and repeated all my throws and masteries with the clubs and ribbon multiple times until I felt confident in every movement. As well, I went into day two with the mindset that I can do it and will enjoy every second on the carpet for myself.
I’ve received great feedback from judges and coaches and plan to apply all their corrections when we return. As well, each time I compete I learn a bit more about how I need to do in order to prepare physically and mentally so I can perform at my maximum capability. This includes what I do as a warm up and timing so I’m not tired before heading onto the carpet as well as visualizing my routines.”
Katherine Uchida, Jusco RG – Toronto, ON
“It’s always an honour to compete for Canada. It represents the hard work that we’ve put into our performances and proves the level we have been able to achieve. Moving forward I know I have to work on consistency and confidence. Once I improve these skills, I will improve my delivery within competitions.
Carmen and I have been each other’s support system throughout this whole journey. After having spent the whole summer together we were able to form a strong sense of support between one another even though we are competitors. Through the ups and downs we had each others backs and that’s something I’m very thankful for.”
For full results from the World Championships, click here.
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