Port Pirie Regional Gymnastics Academy’s trophy collection has expanded enormously again after the group claimed its ninth Country Champion Club title in Adelaide.
Gymnasts competed at the Country Titles, held in Marion, and walked away with the championship title for the eighth consecutive year.
Seven other clubs from regional South Australia also took part at the competition.
The academy had 65 gymnasts competing at the event with levels ranging from one to nine. Their ages ranged from five-years-old to 16-years-old.
Joining the gymnasts at the competition were coaches Garry and Lee-ann Nayda, Kelly Wauchope, Ian Eberhard, Melissa Maywald and Yvette Caddy.
The training leading up to the Country Titles isn’t for the fainthearted with gymnasts training their new routines and skills for 12 months leading to the event.
Some of the group’s advanced gymnasts train up to 13 hours a week to prepare themselves for the competition.
Port Pirie entered a level nine gymnast, Olivia Maywald, and boys level seven, Ashton Pollard.
Both Olivia and Ashton are the first gymnasts to reach those levels in women’s and men’s gymnastics in Port Pirie.
The most difficult routine in the women’s event was performed by Pirie’s level eight gymnast, Ivy Wauchope, on balance beam.
Ivy’s coach, Lee-ann Nayda, said that Ivy had been consistently training difficulty skills for some time and she was determined to include the skills in her competition routine.
“I really admire Ivy’s courage to train those difficult skills on that apparatus as the beam set up at the library not ideal for training difficult skills,” she said.
“The judges awarded Ivy a gold medal for her 14.1 SV (start value) routine.”
Lee-ann said the success of the club is attributed to the dedicated team of coaches, enthusiasm and commitment of its gymnasts and the strong support from the club committee and gymnast’s families.
“The coaches are all on the same page, we coach with the same program and technique which works well with both men’s and women’s disciplines,” she said.
“Due to the restrictive space at the library, the coaches have learned the ability to ‘improvise’ with certain methods of training and to think ‘outside the box’ and that same optimistic ‘can do’ approach is rubbing off onto the gymnasts.”
At the titles, levels seven to nine gymnasts competed extremely well considering the restrictive training environment they have tolerated in the library.
Gymnasts have also been training vault and high bar at the John Pirie gym on Mondays then walking back to the library to continue training there.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to train ‘table’ vaults at the library, as there isn’t the space for the required 25m run to the table and no landing space after the table,” Lee-ann said.
“We’ve been training like that for about six months now, it’s a hassle but we have to do it so that the gymnasts can train those apparatus.
“These gymnasts are ready to learn higher difficulty skills over pits, which will increase their chances of State Team selection in the future.”
Port Pirie’s gymnasts will now get ready to compete in the local invitationals to be held by the academy on the October long weekend.
OVERALL CLUB PLACINGS
The overall club placings were:
Port Pirie – 1st
Pt Lincoln – 2nd
Eyre – 3rd
Broken Hill – 4th