Normally dressed in a more delicate and elegant fashion, the Harbourview Ballroom at the Hamilton Princess hotel was transformed into a sporting “Mecca” and hive of activity as many of the sports governed under the Olympic charter were on full display for the public.
Organised by the Bermuda Olympic Association’s Women in Sport Committee in concert with March being internationally celebrated as National Women’s History Month, the exposition featured exhibits from the traditional sports of football, equestrianism, martial arts, gymnastics, archery, as well as some thrilling, total-body wellness displays from other assembled participants.
With the dancing waves of Hamilton Harbour as a fitting backdrop, all who ventured were amazed and fêted by the many vendors and renderings on hand on Saturday.
Of the notables, Sophia Cannonier’s Lotus group advertised its penchant to better enable and sustain the mind, body and spirit showing off acrobatics and with co-ordinated manoeuvres in the healing and sustaining art-forms of aerial lyra, yoga, Pilates, as well as the performing arts of ballet and even pole fitness.
Garon Wilkinson and his Bermuda Sanshou Association put on captivating sparring displays of the hybrid martial art form, also known as Sanda, that combines Chinese kick-boxing and was developed as a Chinese self-defence system and combat sport.
Gymnasts demonstrated their flexibility and limberness with offerings of the discipline in various styles, including a colourful rhythmic display by Bermuda Gymnastics Association followed by a flawless routine from Quality Gymnastics in the more traditional mode of tumbling, twirling and balanced movement. Brenda Dale, the BOA vice-president, noted that the event as an exciting reveal of sport in its many forms.
“Today’s event went extremely well in providing great exposure of the many activities and sports that abound here,” said Dale who, perhaps so filled with excitement from the event, wound down with an afternoon rowboat ride to Dockyard.
“We were so encouraged by the turnout of our national bodies of sport and the various demonstrations that were put on, it was good to have the young people there being exposed to the many sports and disciplines, as well as being able to perform and show off their skills.”
Also on hand were many vendors, including local health insurance concern BF&M which provided a plethora of insurance and health-related information and giveaways. There were also booths for equestrianism, replete with quartet of female riders in full regalia, and Bermuda Paralympic Association.
Olympian Katura Horton-Perinchief and Paralympian Jessica Lewis, along with former women’s national team footballer-turned Bermuda netball team captain Dominique Richardson, and accompanied by their supportive mothers, also gave riveting presentations, telling of the tests, trials and triumphs they each endured during journeys towards their sporting and Olympic goals.
The expo came on the heels of the Women in Sports Banquet on Friday, also hosted by the BOA, and boasting strong messages from United States Olympic track stars and sisters-in-law Hazel and Jearl Miles Clark urging Bermuda’s young female athletes to believe in themselves and to persevere beyond any failure.
They were given some really heart-wrenching accounts of what it takes to succeed and how important it is to have a support base,” Dale added.
“It’s not just the athlete, but also the parents, the mothers in many cases that are called on to support and encourage and make so many sacrifices — financial and otherwise — to enable the athletes to reach their goals or as far as they can.
“It was really inspiring to hear of the journey and being able to overcome the many obstacles and succeed.”