When it comes to setting sporting goals, Rebecca Wilson Abreu keeps on raising the bar.
The 12-year-old Windsor Park resident recently turned out for the Winnipeg Blue team at the 2014 Manitoba Winter Games in Morden, Stanley and Winkler, competing in several different disciplines against opponents in her age group from across the province on March 4 at the weeklong event.
"I enjoyed the experience and it seemed a lot like the Olympics, especially the opening ceremonies. Although we were from different clubs, everyone supported each other and I feel I tried my best," said Rebecca, who is a member of the St. Boniface-based Panthers Gymnastics Club.
She competed in various categories at the Winter Games and placed 5th in the Uneven Bars Provincial Stream and the Balance Beam Provincial Stream, finished 7th in the All Around Provincial Stream, came in 8th in the Vault Provincial Stream and placed 11th in the Floor Exercise Provincial Stream.
Already a relative veteran on the gymnastics mat, Wilson Abreu has been participating in the sport since the age of three. And the Collège Béliveau student is also involved in the local competitive soccer scene, having most recently turned out for the Bonivital U12 girls’ developmental team in both a defensive and midfield role.
Proud mom Colleen praised her daughter’s commitment to both sports and emphasized how gymnastics has benefited Rebecca’s fitness.
"She’s able to cross over and do both sports, which is great, because gymnastics is an individual sport as opposed to a team sport," Colleen said. "It improves her core balance, strength, flexibility, and it’s a good cardiovascular workout."
"I like how it works my flexibility," Rebecca added, noting gymnastics coach Katey Page has been a big influence in her life. "How do I stay in shape? I stretch a lot, as much as I can, for my splits, which is important, so I don’t pull anything. I also enjoy working out."
Rebecca noted she enjoys all of the various gymnastic disciplines, but probably likes the bars and the beam the best.
Considering she has been associated with the Panthers for most of her life, Rebecca said the club has become an extension of her biological family.
"Everybody there is really nice, and I’ve been there since I was little. My friends are really nice, and they cheer me on. In a way, it’s like having another family."
According to the club’s website, it currently provides programming for more than 800 members, and offers training for elite and provincial level competitive gymnasts, as well as offering recreational programs for children aged two and up. The club, which celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2011, has a 15,000 square-foot building on Marion Street, which is billed as the largest and most equipped gymnastics facility in the province.
To learn more about the Panthers, go online at www.panthersgymnastics.ca