Morgan, Lytwyn, Payne post strong showing at World Challenge Cup in Azerbaijan
Gymnastics Canada – BAKU, AZE (February 22, 2016) – Scott Morgan of North Vancouver, BC led the small Canadian team competing at the World Challenge Cup AGF Trophy in Baku, Azerbaijan this past weekend, qualifying for two event finals against a strong field of competitors representing 19 countries.
Morgan and Kevin Lytwyn of Burlington, ON qualified 4th and 5th respectively for the rings finals with scores of 14.550 and 14.400 but unfortunately Lytwyn landed awkwardly while warming up for the high bar on the second day and had to withdraw from the final. Morgan went on to finish tied for 4th with Tomomasa Hasegawa of Japan with a score of 14.450. Ibrahim Colak of Turkey dominated the field to take the gold with a score of 15.450 – well ahead of Kazuma Kaya of Japan in second with 14.800 and hometown favourite Oleg Stepko of Azerbaijan in third with 14.700.
Morgan laid down two solid vaults in the qualifiers to place third with a total score of 14.325 but unfortunately wasn’t able to repeat in the finals finishing 6th with a score of 13.550 behind Kenzo Shirai of Japan who took gold with a score of 14.975, Stepko in second with a score of 14.650, and Ahmet Onder of Turkey taking bronze with a score of 14.400.
Morgan also competed in the floor event where he finished 11th, while Lytwyn finished 16thwith neither advancing to the finals.
Jackson Payne of Edmonton, AB also made his return to active competition after injuring his Achilles tendon just before the Pan American Games last summer. With a 14th place on the pommel horse and 9th on the horizontal bar, he’s showed that he’s more than ready to help the team qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio at the upcoming test event this April.
“It was great having Jackson back,” said Morgan after the competition. “It’s always gutting to watch a teammate go through such a severe injury but he’s put in a huge amount of hard work and it shows he’s determined to help us qualify a team to Rio. The test event is going to be tough, but seeing some of our competition here in Baku made everything look possible. We have a great plan heading into the next couple months and with a few more competitions under our belt, I know we’ll be consistent, strong, and ready for Rio.”
All three athletes now head straight to Stanford University for a training camp with the rest of the men’s team before their first team competition of the year this upcoming weekend.
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