Edmonton gymnast Jackson Payne recaptures men’s all around title at Canadian championships
GATINEAU, Que. -- One year after rejoining the national team following a two-year hiatus, Edmonton's Jackson Payne won the gold medal Saturday in the men’s senior all around event at the Canadian gymnastics championships.
Payne, who left the national team in 2012 to carry out a two-year mission with the Mormon Church in South Korea, recaptured the all around title he first won as a 19-year-old in 2011 with a total score of 83.500 points.
Rene Cournoyer of Repentigny, Que., won the silver medal with 81.950 points and Hugh Smith of Halifax was a fraction of a point behind to claim the bronze with a score of 81.900.
“I felt like I could come here and win it, that was my goal,” said Payne, whose best scores in six events came on the parallel bars and pommel horse.
“I’m happy with the result but I know I can do better. I was about 70 percent of what I thought I can do in the next few months and it goes right along with my plan to gear up for the Pan Am Games and the world championships.”
Payne just missed out on competing at the 2012 Olympics when the Canadian team fell just short of qualifying for the Games.
Just over one year into his remarkable comeback after almost two full years away from the sport, Payne says he’s determined to help the Canadian men’s team get back onto the Olympic stage.
“I’ve worked extremely hard and tried to do everything I could to get back. I knew it was going to be hard but I'm right on schedule.”
In the men’s novice competition, Vancouver’s Darren Wong won the all around title with 192.860 points over two days of competition.
David Sandro of Acton, Ont., placed second with 189.460 points and Jesse Tyndall of Saskatoon, was third at 185.860 in a field of 23 competitors.
“ I think I’ve improved the most since last year on the pommel horse,” said Wong, who trains at the Phoenix Gymnastics club under coach Alexander Pozdniakov.
“In the pommel horse if you think too much or try to muscle it too much it doesn’t really work out. You just have to go with it.”
The Canadian championships conclude on Sunday with the apparatus finals for both the junior and senior men and women.