OVER 800 young male and female gymnasts from more than 56 countries are expected in The Bahamas to participate in the fifth Atlantis Crown Invitational at the Paradise Island resort December 17- 21.
The event is the largest gymnastics competition in the Caribbean.
Tyrone Sawyer, senior director in the Ministry of Tourism, said the competition has been very beneficial for The Bahamas.
“A small event that started four years ago is now really generating a tremendous amount of room nights into our destination and a number of equipment is being left for the local clubs. We also have a hope we will see this spread not just in Nassau but to other islands in The Bahamas,” he said.
“It works under the radar very effectively to provide sports tourism in a very meaningful way in our country. In many ways, the gymnastics lead the way for football. We are very versatile in sports tourism. We are a leader in sports tourism events.”
Virginia Kelly, general manager in sports tourism development, says the ministry is proud of the way gymnastics has grown over the years.
“When they came in four years ago they brought in 200 gymnasts. With the 800 gymnasts, we know that family is coming and so we can see about 2,000 people coming just for this event.
“And so from a sports tourism perspective this is really a great event,” she said.
“The event is over a five-night span and these persons tend to stay longer and so we are really seeing the dividends and the benefits of it.”
From the Atlantis Crown Invitational, local athletes have been chosen to participate in the Pan American Games.
Barbara Thompson, of the Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas, said there will be “immense competition” this year.
“That will bring a new element to the meet and we are hoping to have more Bahamian competitors because each year we have more competitors and we ask for anyone practicing gymnastics to join,” she said.
For more information on the Atlantis Crown invitational visit www.atlantiscrowninvitational.com
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