Bezzoubenko fourth after first day at Senior Pan Am Gymnastics Championships



MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Commonwealth Games star Patricia Bezzoubenko of Thornhill, Ont., got off to a rough start at the senior Pan American rhythmic gymnastics championships on Wednesday but bounced back to place fourth all around after the first day of competition.

Bezzoubenko, who won five gold medals in Glasgow last month, struggled to a seventh-place finish in the opening ball event, but came back with a dazzling hoop routine to remain in strong medal contention with combined score of 31.433 points.

Jasmine Kerber and Rebecca Sereda of the United States finished 1-2 with scores of 33.233 and 32.176 respectively in a field of 31 competitors.

Bezzoubenko will be looking for another strong performance in the ribbon and clubs events on Thursday to claim a medal in the all around and qualify for all four event finals.

Maria Kitkarska of Montreal, Canada’s other entry in the all around event, placed 12th with a total of 27.117 points for her ball and hoop routines.

Carmen Whelan of Toronto, in her first major competition at the senior level, was an impressive 10th in the ball event and 2013 world championship team member Annabelle Kovacs of Vancouver was ninth in hoop.

In the group competition, Canada placed fifth on the first day of qualification for the all around and event titles.

The rhythmic gymnastics competition continues through Friday, followed by trampoline and artistic gymnastics through September 1.

The Pan Am Championships are a qualifying event for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

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