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Strength in adversity pushes Port Moody rhythmic gymnastics champion to nationals

Laura Mora's "grit and capability" contributed to graceful performances that won the Port Moody teen the senior provincial title and a bronze at westerns.

Will third time's the charm work out for Laura Mora at the Canadian rhythmic gymnastics championships?

That's what the Port Moody athlete is hoping for as she's already battled through some adversity to reach a third consecutive nationals meet.

She recently claimed the 2023 provincials all-around senior open title after achieving the highest individual score, as well as a bronze medal at westerns in the same category to qualify.

The 16-year-old told the Tri-City News she had to push through injuries at the regional event in Saskatchewan to earn her ticket to Toronto, which she believes shows "grit and capability" against the best.

"I was most proud of the consistency of my routines, as well as a new personal best hoop routine," Mora explained in talking about her B.C. championship title. 

"I'm so grateful to have won as my category is extremely competitive and I acknowledge that all of my competitors are very talented and very hardworking."

Tried, tested, true

Mora can be considered a Tri-Cities triple threat when she walks out on the floor.

In addition to calling the "City of the Arts" her home, she's currently a grade 11 student at Dr. Charles Best Secondary (Coquitlam) and is member of Grace Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, which has facilities in Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Mora explained she grew interest in the sport at a very young age, which tests an athlete's strength, poise, balance and flexibility on a floor while manoeuvring four apparatuses: hoop, ball, ribbon and clubs.

Fundamentals for competitors are also three-fold: gymnastics, calisthenics and dance.

"I believe that success is seen not only in my achievements, but also in my improvement and in my ability to impact people with my performances," said Mora.

"I also enjoy the life lessons it teaches me, such as perseverance and discipline, and am glad that I now have the ability to implement these skills in my future and for the rest of my life."

Mora noted, while she'll stay in competition as long as she can, her endgame is to use her determination to inspire the next generation of gymnasts.

Her time with Grace has already included coaching younger girls and helping them harness their skills through choreography of her own vision.

Time to shine

With plenty of rest and preparation, Mora will head to nationals next month a little older and with more experience on her résumé.

In 2022, she landed a top 10 spot in her first appearance in the Canadian senior open division — seventh all-around with a individual-best fifth-place finish in the ball routine.

The provincial champion knows there's tough competition waiting for her in the greater Toronto area, so her primary focus is to give clean performances for the judges and to stay positive.

"My goal is to keep improving myself as an athlete every day and to continue pushing myself to compete with routines that I can be proud of," Mora remarked. 

The 2023 Canadian rhythmic gymnastics championships are slated for May 18 to 21 at the Markham Pan Am Centre in Markham, Ont.