Pivotal time for Nabata as Olympics selection approaches

By: Adam Williams in Sports February 11, 2016

Scott Nabata of the Kamloops Gymnastics and Trampoline Centre would like to crack the list of gymnasts named to Team Canada for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Scott Nabata was the first to admit his performance at the 2016 Elite Canada Artistic Gymnastics Championships wasn’t his best. But leaving Halifax with gold and bronze medals hanging around his neck, it was hard for the Kamloops gymnast to complain.

The 20-year-old Nabata finished third in the parallel bars and atop the podium in high bar at the national event last weekend, reaching new heights in his career as an artistic gymnast. The gold was his first in an Elite Canada competition as a senior level athlete.
“It meant quite a bit,” Nabata told KTW. “I know the gold on high bar was, I want to say a greasy win. A lot of people fell, who I thought had a good shot of making it. But that’s part of the sport. If you can stay on, that’s a win in my books.”
Elite Canada was Nabata’s first competition of the season, but quite possibly one of the most important of his career. He was not only competing for medals, but for a spot on Canada’s team for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Canada will send six athletes — as well as four reserves — to a test event in Rio in April, with the aim of qualifying for the Olympics three months later. Canada must finish among the top four in April in order to book their trip to the Games. Nabata is hoping to be one of the athletes who will don the Maple Leaf for the test event and, eventually, Rio.

Though his performance at Elite Canada netted him two medals, the Kamloops Gymnastics and Trampoline Centre athlete said it’s hard to say what the chances are he’ll get the call. “I’m pretty unsure,” he said. While Nabata hit the podium twice, he made the final in only three of six events and was sixth in pommel horse, normally one of his strengths. “I was hoping for a better performance for sure. “My confidence making that team kind of dropped a little bit after. But anything could happen. There has been a lot of injuries on the team lately, so it always changes. You never know what is going to happen.”
Canada is expected to name its team for the Rio test event at the end of the month.
Elite Canada was important, but it wasn’t Nabata’s last chance to put his name in the Olympic conversation. Canada’s coaches have requested athletes update them regularly and Nabata has a number of competitions on the horizon as a member of the national team. Competitions that, regardless of their bearing on the Olympics, Nabata is excited for. “Everybody on the team, they train with other athletes at their calibre and I’m the only one that trains by himself,” Nabata said. “Going to these competitions and seeing all these other athletes and how close I am to getting a spot, that gives me the motivation to keep going. “It’s pretty difficult — the motivation for some days, it’s not all there. But I kind of enjoy not knowing how everybody else is doing, in a way. I went to this competition having no expectations of how anybody else was going to do, what their skill level was like, and that was the same for them — they had no idea how I was doing. A lot of people were kind of shocked at some of the things I was doing.”
Should he miss the cut for Rio, Nabata isn’t concerned about his future as a gymnast.
Looking too far ahead has never gotten him anywhere. “I know that my abilities in gymnastics are only getting better,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll still be kicking around for the 2020 Olympics. “I think, if I don’t make this, there’s still a lot more opportunities that I’ll have, whether it’s world championships or Pan Am Games in a few years. I still have a lot of options.”

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