Zach Clay competes at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, QAT.(Gymnastics Canada)

Canada’s top male gymnasts set to compete in Langley

World champ competitor Zach Clay got his start in gymnastics in Langley and returns this weekend

From a simple cartwheel to a spot on the Canadian men’s national team: that is the path of Zach Clay.

Clay’s introduction to gymnastics was inconspicuous enough.

With his Kindergarten class rehearsing for a play, the teacher was in search of one child to do a cartwheel as part of the performance.

“Apparently I was the one who had the best cartwheel they had ever seen,” recalled the now 24-year-old with a chuckle.

After watching the youngster effortlessly execute the manouvre, Clay’s teachers suggested to his parents that perhaps gymnastics might be a good sport for him. Nearly two decades later, that prediction still holds true.

Clay got his start in the sport with Langley’s Flip City Gymnastics Centre, before progressing to Abbotsford’s Twisters Gymnastics Club, the club he still trains with to this day.

But in addition to his time with Twisters, the Chilliwack man has been a mainstay with the Canadian Men’s Artistic Gymnastics National Team for the past several years, including competing for Canada at four World Championships (2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018).

PAST COVERAGE: Canadian women win team gymnastics gold at Commonwealth Games

He has a trio of top five all-around finishes in the last three Canadian championships, including winning the title in 2017.

And this week Clay is back in Langley, the community where his gymnastics career took its first leap, at the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) Elite Canada 2019 competition.

The event is hosted by Gymnastics Canada and Langley Gymnastics Foundation at Langley Events Centre on Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20 and will take place in the Arena Bowl.

The most talented male gymnasts from across the country will be performing awe-inspiring skills at this event as they look to earn a spot to represent Canada this October at the World Championships in Germany.

The gymnasts will be competing in the MAG Elite 4, junior and senior levels.

Joining Clay in Langley will be Rene Cournoyer, Justin Karstadt, Corey Paterson and Sam Zakutney. Karstadt and Zakutney are both from Ontario while Cournoyer and Paterson are from Quebec and following the Elite Canada event at LEC, the five will depart for Lima, Peru to compete at the 2019 Pan American Games, another chance to show the coaches and those selecting the team for October, what they are capable of.

Clay says representing his country is a phenomenal feeling and incredible honour.

“It does definitely get a bit easier, but you still go out there and sometimes it can be nerve-wracking, but for the most part, you get used to it,” he said about wearing the Maple Leaf.

“I am able to focus on what I need to do a little better now.”

But in the meantime, Clay is happy to be back in Langley competing close to home so that his family and friends can come cheer him on.

“It feels fantastic. The last time we had a big event like this, I was just a little guy. It feels amazing to have it back in BC and especially having it back in Langley.”

.

Event Details:

Friday, July 19

10:10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Elite 4 and Junior All Around

4:40 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Senior Men All Around

.

Saturday, July 20

10:40 a.m. to 2 p.m. Elite 4 Apparatus Finals

3:55 p.m. to 7 p.m. Junior/Senior Apparatus Finals

Admisssion:

Children (6 and under) free

Youth (7 to 17) and Senior (65+) $6

Adults (18+) $12

Family (maximum of 4) $25

For more information, visit www.gymcan.org

 

Zach Clay competes at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, QAT.(Gymnastics Canada)

Zach Clay competes at the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Doha, QAT.(Gymnastics Canada)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive held for hope and recovery

Andy Bhatti offered Vancouver Canuck autographs and a Thai rehab trip at annual Murrayville event

VIDEO: Filling needs by filling an ambulance

Annual Langley donation drive by Kims Angels draws a generous response

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Most Read