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Local athletes win big at baton world championship

York Region-based club earn two silver and two bronze medals in the Netherlands

A number of local athletes are returning from the Netherlands with medals around their necks after competing at the baton world championships at the end of July.

Members of the Stars United Baton Club, which runs programs in Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill and Thornhill, competed at the 2022 World Federation of National Baton Twirling Associations championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands, from July 27 to 31. The club came home with four team medals.

The Stars United junior combined team and junior twirl team each earned a silver medal. The junior dance twirl team and Canada’s twirl corps team each won a bronze medal.

“This is the highest achievement this club has earned in their three trips to worlds and they are the first York Region athletes to earn multiple medals at the world championships. It’s been a long two-and-a-half years as the club was supposed to attend these events in March 2020. They found ways to train and motivate each other online and outside throughout COVID,” said head coach Satyne Ward.

A number of individual athletes from Stars United also achieved top-10 finishes at the competition.

Kerri Cooper, 20, came in 10th place in the senior 2 baton event. Sofy Puebla, 11, finished in sixth place in the preteen X-strut event. This was her first time competing at the worlds.

Sapphire Flach, 16, earned five top-10 finishes. She came fourth in youth rhythmic twirl, fifth in solo, sixth in X-strut, seventh in 2 baton, and fifth in junior duet with her partner, 19-year-old Becca Liski.

Sydney Ward, 19, finished in fifth in both X-strut junior and 2 baton. She just missed the podium, coming in fourth in both junior rhythmic twirl and solo. She was also the flag bearer for Team Canada at the competition.

“This group of athletes gave some of the best performances of the contest and were highly talked about all week,” Ward said of the local competitors.

The coach said the team is taking a small break and “can’t wait to return home as world medallists and begin the next round of goals, growing their club after the pandemic and working towards Liverpool international championships next summer.”

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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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