National gymnast Thema Williams plans to increase the complexity of her routine in preparation for the Rio Olympics Test event, which takes place in April of next year.
Williams, 19, became the first T&T gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Test event after placing 59th overall in the artistic women's individual qualification at the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, last month.
Fellow national gymnast Marisa Dick also competed at the World Championships, placing 77th overall. Williams should have been automatically selected by the T&T Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) to represent this country at the Test event. However, it was stated by the Federation that Williams and Dick will have to compete in two more events before one is chosen for the Test event.
After consultation among members of the TTGF Williams was chosen for the Test event, which is a qualifier for the Rio Olympics in August 2016.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian at the Tots and Tumblers Gymnastics Club on Dundonald Street in Port-of-Spain, Williams spoke about qualifying for the Test event. "I feel quite honoured actually. I think the normal hard work paid off. It was a really good feeling."
Williams, who joined Tots and Tumblers at age six, plans to increase the complexity of her routines to improve her chances of qualifying for the Rio Olympics. "I am going to improve the difficulty of my routines which will raise my value and give me a better shot of a better score."
Williams added she needs to control her nerves during competitions to improve her performance. "I always had a problem with nerves because I never got the exposure competing in that competition (World Championships) before, being the only gymnast at that level in T&T. I need to work on my ability to focus and get in the zone and do the routines."
The Tots and Tumblers gymnast wants to stay focused like the Russians. "I really love watching the Russians. I think I enjoy their attitude because it is very focused and that is what I lack in competitions."
Williams, who will be based in Michigan, USA, until the Test event with top coach John Geddert, was relieved when the Federation announced that she will compete at the Test event.Williams and her team are thinking about competing in two meets leading up to the Test event.
Williams, who trains 32 hours per week, is grateful to many for helping her reach this far. She thanked the Ministry of Sport, which has been supporting her financially since 2005, her family and Tots and Tumblers, which she described as the foundation of her gymnastics. Williams also has the support of local coaches Clifton McDowell and Deborah Knowles.