Gymnasts from across B.C., Alberta and the Northwest Territories will descend on the Richmond Oval for the 34th annual Delta Invitational from May 4 to 6.
The annual event will see more than 1,300 participants in 11 sessions over the weekend compete in everything from tumbling to vaulting to balancing.
“It’s one of the largest,” said Ellyn Schriber, growth and development coordinator for Delta Gymnastics, about the invitational. “It started small and it’s grown … I think we’re going to take the whole floor [of the Richmond Oval] next year because it is growing each year.”
The event will feature 38 clubs competing in various categories, including men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, junior Olympian, and high school. It’s typically a female dominated sport, Schriber said, and one that favours younger athletes.
“Because the gymnasts skew younger, we try to use it as a teachable moment too,” she said about the competition. “So the whole theme of this year’s invitational is ‘Embrace the Journey’ … embracing the growth of the athlete, hard days, bad days. Just enjoying the journey rather than this is the destination of where we’re going.”
Over the last 16 years, the invitational has also been home to the Cash and Carry Cup, a competition that offers $10,000 in prize money for training. That money is divided among the top six male and female all-around winners, as well as the top three winners in each event.
“It’s one of the few competitions that actually offers prize money,” Schriber said. “Typically you might win a medal at these events, but that’s an actual cash prize.”
The Cash and Carry Cup, which takes place on Saturday, May 5 at 5 p.m., is also the venue for two unusual events. The Delta Gymnaestrada, a group of 35 gymnasts ranging from 10- to 80-years-old, will do a performance immediately before the competition, and a special tug-o-war will take place after.
“It’s sort of a combination of dance, tumbling and gymnastics,” Schriber said about the Gymnaestrada group. “I think the music is … fairly modern, and the sort of senior section will weave it’s way in and help with some of the stunting.
“It’s very cool and kind of unique.”
The Delta Invitational and Cash and Carry Cup will be held at the Richmond Oval (6111 River Road). Competitions will take place between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, May 4; 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 5; and 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 6.
Tickets are available at the door (cash only). Adults are $12 for the day ($20 for the weekend), while youth and seniors are $6 for the day ($10 for the weekend). Children six and under are free.
For more information, including a floor plan and schedule of the competition, visit deltagymnastics.com/delta-invitational.