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Nastia Liukin

Ellicott City's Ra-Akbar chasing gymnastic dreams

Ellicott City's Ra-Akbar chasing gymnastic dreams

At 8 years old, gymnast Azaraya Ra-Akbar has a long way to go before she can qualify for the Olympic Games. But since joining Hills Gymnastics a year and a half ago, her skill level in the sport has grown so exponentially that suddenly no dream seems too farfetched.

After a slow start in the realm of athletics, she has quickly become one of the best Level 7 gymnasts in the state.

"A lot of times you hear kids doing crazy things at a younger age and it wasn't like that for her. She kind of had two left feet, and then right around five (years old) it clicked for her," said Azaraya's father, Juba Ra-Akbar, during a practice at Hills Gymnastics in Gaithersburg, Maryland....