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Canadian women off to a strong start at 2015 artistic gymnastics world championships

The Canadian team finished the day with 222.780 points, over eight points higher than it scored to place 12th at the 2014 world championships. Russia currently leads the field with 231.437 points with Great Britain in second (227.162), and Italy third (224.452). The remaining countries, including powerhouse teams from the United States and China will compete on the final day of qualifications tomorrow.

Black, winner of five medals at the Pan American Games this past summer, also currently stands in first in the individual all-around standings in a field of 97 competitors.

“We went out there with a great mindset of doing our best, trusting ourselves, and really going out there as a team and hitting our routines,” said Black, who came up with the team’s top scores on beam and floor.

“We have a stronger team this year and everyone has been working really hard in practice, upping our difficulty and working on our execution but also training together as a team and trusting everything going on out there.”

Rogers, a gymnastics star at the University of Georgia, returned to the Canadian national team last summer determined to earn another chance at the Olympics.

“I was full of nerves at the beginning but now I’m just excited,” said Rogers, who delivered the team’s top scores on uneven bars and vault. “I think we did a great job and knowing that we can build on that is great. I’m just humbled to be able to represent my country again.”

Canada also got strong performances from Audrey Rousseau of La Prairie, Que., Victoria-Kayen Woo of Brossard, Que., Isabella Onyshko of Brandon, Man., and Sydney Townshend of Contestgo, Ont.

Canadian national team director Dave Brubaker of Sarnia, Ont., said the team exceeded expectations, particularly in finishing ahead of world power Romania which stumbled to seventh in the most surprising result of the day.

“Knowing it was all going down to the wire to go ahead of Romania, there was some pressure on the team but I think Sydney Townsend really set the stage there on vault with a score of 14.333 and that gave Ellie and Brittany the green light to put up some really big numbers and that put the icing on the cake for Canada.”

The top eight countries in a field of 24 teams will clinch a berth at the 2016 Olympic Games while teams placing ninth to 16th will advance to the final Olympic qualification competition next April in Rio where four more teams will earn a spot at the Games.

Competition continues Saturday with the final day of the women’s qualification.

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