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Scott Morgan top Canadian at International Collegiate Challenge gymnastics competition

“I’m always fighting aches and pains here and there but it was a solid routine and it felt good to improve on it from previous competitions,” said Morgan, a key member of the Canadian men’s team as it gets ready for a last-chance qualification meet for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to be held in April.

“It’s nerve wracking but it’s nice to get in a competition like this before the big meet in April,” said Morgan. “As a team we’re looking stronger and I think we’re building momentum as we move forward.”

In just his second competition since coming back from a torn achilles tendon, Jackson Payne of Edmonton placed third on high bar and Hugh Smith of Halifax was third on vault to round out Canada’s top individual apparatus performances.

Mathieu Csukassy of Montreal had the best all-around score on the eight-man Canadian team with a fifth-place finish.

Other members of the Canadian team were Ken Ikeda of Abbotsford, B.C., Damien Cachia of Calgary, Rene Cournoyer of Repentigny, Que., and Anderson Loran of Saskatoon.

In the team competition, Stanford placed first with 444.6 points followed by Japan in second (444.25) and Canada in third (434.7).

“For the most part we competed ok, but we still have some work to do,” said men’s national team director Tony Smith of Calgary. 

Smith said the team is on track for the Olympic qualification meet despite a spate of injuries which have knocked out several world championship veterans including Kevin Lytwyn of Stoney Creek, Ont., and Zachary Clay of Chilliwack, B.C.

“I’ve called on just about all the guys we’ve been bringing to our national team camps, so it’s good to see we’re still able to field a competitive team.”

Smith said he will make his final team selection for the Olympic qualification meet next month after an international competition in Calgary.

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