Gymnast best in eastern Canada

Ten year-old Clara Raposo really goes head over heels for a birthday.

PHOTO: Paul Clarke/
Ten year-old Beach gymnast Clara Raposo performs her floor routine at the Eastern Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, on May 9. Raposo won first overall in her division. PHOTO: Paul Clarke/

On May 9, the young Beach gymnast won gold at the Eastern Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick.

It was Raposo’s first time competing for Ontario at a provincial championship, and it came the day after her 10th birthday.

“She’s a very powerful youngster — super strong, flexible, and loves to perform in front of an audience,” says Lisa Cowan, who coaches Raposo along with Lawson Hamer at the East York Gymnastics Club.

“She really thrives on competition.”

Raposo hit all four events — vault, uneven bars, floor, and balance beam — without a single mistake.

On the floor, Raposo landed skills like the layout half salto, running into one sideways flip with her body straight as a pin, then tucking into a second flip right away.

On the balance beam, she did a back walkover, back handspring — arching back to catch the beam with both hands, then bringing her feet over her head one by one before launching into a back handspring that she finished by sticking one and then another foot on the four-inch beam.

Cowan said Raposo will now start learning new, higher-difficulty skills so she can move into the pre-novice class that will prepare her for national competitions. Summer holidays mean just a two-week break in her 26-hour weekly training schedule.

Raposo’s mom Shannon Lambert said it was exciting enough to see her land one of the four spots on the Ontario team, let alone win first place.

“I’m so thrilled and so proud of her,” she said.

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