The Princess of Pan Ams – Isabella Ajalla

By Ashlee Buhler

She knows how to hit a ring leap, point her toes to perfection, and captivate the crowd with her stunning flexibility! During the 2022 Pan American Championships, Isabella Ajalla from Argentina had everybody talking. It was one of the first major international outings of her career and she took home four bronze medals (Team, All-Around, Bars, and Floor) in addition to gaining a bunch of new fans around the globe thanks to her impeccable technique and poise under pressure. 

Ajalla, who also won two gold medals (on bars and beam) earlier this year at the South American Junior Games, won’t turn senior until 2024; so she has plenty of time to up her difficulty and gain consistency before taking her talents to the World or Olympic stage. But if her performance at the Pan American Championships were an indication of anything — the future is certainly bright for Isabella Ajalla! 

Inside Gymnastics recently caught up with this rising star to talk about her performance at Pan Ams, who she looks up to in the sport, and her future goals!


 

Can you start by telling us how you got started in gymnastics? 

I started when I was seven. I was playing in a place near my house and they recommended I go to a place where I could progress. Since 2016 I’ve trained at CGN (Circulo Gimnastico Norte) with Cami (Soto). 

Was there a certain gymnast you looked up to in your younger years? 

When I was little I admired Abigail Magistrati a lot! 

You did amazing at the Pan American Championships! How did it feel to qualify to every event final and come away with four bronze medals? 

Thank you! The truth is that I felt very happy with how I did and surprised to be able to be in the finals as well! My results motivate me to maintain and improve my level as a gymnast to continue being among the best in America in the next Pan American Games! 

Looking back, do you feel you achieved all of the goals you set for yourself at this competition? 

What I wanted most was to qualify for the beam final, so it was surprising that I was able to qualify for all four apparatus; although later in the beam final it did not go very well. But except that, it was all better than I honestly imagined! 

Do you have a favorite memory or moment that stands out from the competition? 

When I finished competing on bars in the All-Around competition, I was super happy because I was afraid that something might go wrong but I did my routine well! I looked at my teammates from Argentina who were in the stands and I did a funny dance! I was happy and it came from inside [laughs]! 

I’m not sure if you know this, but you gained a lot of new fans after the Pan American Championships – everyone on Twitter is talking about how beautiful your gymnastics is! Is there anything you’d like to say to your new fans?

I didn’t know they talked and shared videos of me ! [Laughs] I love that they like what I do! I would tell them thank you very much for supporting me and that it makes me very happy to know that there are people who love me! 

Do you have any formal dance training or does the artistic aspect of the sport come naturally to you? 

Yes, I do dance three times a week for one hour a day and I feel that helps me a lot gymnastically. Since I was little I had excellent dance coaches who helped me improve my lines, the choreography, and the jumps. They are Solana, Christina, Barbara, Ayelén and now that I’m older, also Carolina! I had a hard time and they helped me a lot! 

What are your goals in the sport, both short term and long term? 

My goals for this year were to be able to qualify for the Pan American and the Odesur Games. I would like to go to a competition in Europe (Top Gym) before the end of the year too. Long term, my goal is to be able to reach an international championship such as a World Cup or Olympic Games! 

Are there any new skills that you are currently working in the gym that you would like to add to your routines eventually? 

Yes, on beam and bars! On beam, my goal is to be able to compete a bhs + loso + Rulfova. And on bars, a Shaposh with a half turn.

Is there any chance you are interested in coming to the United States to do college gymnastics? 

I would like to go to the United States to train for a while to get more experience, but I would not do college gymnastics. 

Who are some gymnasts you currently look up to?

I greatly admire Sira Macias from Argentina because I really like her style of gymnastics and how she is as a person. Above all, I admire the strength she has and how she came out of such a difficult time that she went through in the sport. My favorite gymnast from another country is Vladislava Urazova from Russia. 

When you are not in the gym training, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

When I’m not in the gym, I like to hang out with my friends and spend more time with my family! 

Is there a fun or interesting fact about yourself that you want fans to know?

Yes, I am easily distracted! I forget everything! I even forgot my bag at the airport [laughs]! Also, I have many superstitions. If something goes well, I will do what I did or wear what I was wearing (again) because I think that brings me luck! 

Photos courtesy of Camila Soto; Ivan Ferreira 

For more:

U.S. Junior Champ Katelyn Jong Ready For The Jump To The Senior Ranks 

Skye Blakely Ready To Soar

Rising Star Nola Matthews Readies For The Road Ahead 

TCT’s Levi Jung-Ruivivar Is Ready To Shine In The Senior Ranks

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