State gymnastics championship begins Friday in Foley - FOX10 News | WALA

State gymnastics championship begins Friday in Foley

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(FOX10 News) (FOX10 News)

More than a thousand gymnasts, ages five to 15 will be competing for the state championships at the Foley Sports Tourism Complex December 1-3, 2017. It’s the second gymnastics meet to be held there and organizers said it’s a perfect venue for this size event. 

Set-up began Thursday, November 30, 2017, for the Alabama Compulsory State Gymnastics Meet.  Over the next 24 hours, the 50,000 square foot space inside the Foley Sports Tourism Complex will be converted into a top-level gymnastics venue.  Girls, ages five and up will be competing at the highest level…all for bragging rights and medals.  Organizers said those who make it out to see some of the three-day event won’t be disappointed.

“There are going to be little bitty kids competing on vault, bars, beam, and floor.  They will…I mean a lot of them will put a smile on your face watching them because they’re just precious and just seeing the really cool skills that they get to do,” said event organizer, Erin Kightlinger.

Kightlinger owns Bamma Bounders Gymnastics in Tuscaloosa and has held a competition in Foley once before.  When she won the bid to put on the state championships, Kightlinger said they knew this was the facility to host it.

“This event center is massive and it is beautiful and it is wonderful and it’s a great facility to host it in,” Kightlinger said.  “The city of Foley has been a huge help to get us here and to help us do whatever we need help with.”

In return for the hospitality, the city of Foley and the surrounding area will reap the benefits of off-season tourist dollars.  Thousands of family members will accompany the athletes and they’ll spend their money shopping, eating and sleeping at local businesses.  Stephanie Donald with Foley Sports Tourism said it’s a win-win for all parties.

“It also gives our businesses a chance to snag some new visitors.  So, maybe they don’t come back for our next sporting event.  They come back for vacation first so that’s something we also want to show then is that it’s not just a place for tourism.  It’s not just a place for sports.  It’s a place to come back to any time of year,” Kightlinger explained.

This gymnastics championship is something tourism officials hope to have back on an annual basis.  

The competitors at this meet are level one through five.  The competition starts tomorrow at noon and runs through Sunday afternoon.

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