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Bitola, the Consul city of the past is the present site of the International Gymnastics Competition “Bitola 2006”. This year’s competition will be held on September 30th. Alongside last year’s participants from Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, Egypt and the host Macedonia, there will be a number of additional countries competing. Thanks to the Canadian-Macedonian Olympic Club, which sponsors Canadian athletes of Macedonian origin to represent Macedonia at international sporting events, two local gymnasts, Carrina LoBello and Meghan Fyall as well as two coaches will compete as part of the Macedonian team.

Carrina Josephine Lo Bello, was born April 8, 1993 in Toronto. Carrina’s mother, Beth Lo Bello (nee: Markoff), was also born in Toronto, as was her maternal grandfather John Markoff, her maternal great grandfather Cvetan Markoff was born in Prilep, Macedonia and her father Ignazio was born in Italy. Carrina successfully competes in Level 9 and this year she placed first, both at Elite Ontario and at the Eastern Canadian Championships.

Meghan Fyall was also born in Toronto as was her mother Tina. Her maternal grandmother was born in Patele and her maternal grandfather in Ostrovo, both villages in the Lerin region of Macedonia. Meghan’s father Jeff was born in Windsor and is of Scottish heritage. Meghan trains at the Newmarket gymnastics club “Pulsars”, competes in the Provincial Level 9 and this year competed at the Ontario Winter Games. She started gymnastics at the Winstonettes at the age of four.

Carrina and Meghan are tirelessly training in order to take their routines up to international standards, and are eager to compete both in Macedonia and other competitions such as the European Junior Championship, which will be held early next year.

Biljana Markovska was a third possible gymnast for this competition, however due to a persistent injury she had to pass this time, and await her chance to represent Macedonia at future meets. Another local athlete, the diver Lauren Karatanevski unfortunately was unable to represent Macedonia at the European Diving Championships last month, because the authorities were unable to grant her Macedonian citizenship in time for the competition due to the Parliamentary elections. The Canadian-Macedonian Olympic Club is hopeful that the citizenship issue will be resolved as soon as possible so Lauren can compete at the World Cup.

It was only last July 14th when a group of Macedonian sports enthusiasts held the founding meeting of the Canadian–Macedonian Olympic Club. The club’s first public function was a banquet, held November 11th to raise funds for this competition in Bitola. The club is planning a second fundraising event scheduled for October 20th to raise funds for future competitions for Carrina, Meghan, Biljana, Lauren and many other Canadian athletes.

With the Beijing Olympics taking place in less than two years the club is appealing to the Macedonian Community to let them know of any high-level athlete willing to compete for Macedonia.

Potential future Olympians are encouraged to call the Club’s president Steve Pliakes at 905-841-5945.


© 2006  MacedonianLife.com