Tyler, Ivy take out top gymnastics awards | PHOTOS

Tyler Hudson and Ivy Wauchope were the toast of the Port Pirie Regional Gymnastics Academy after taking out the group’s top two awards for male and female gymnasts.

The academy was in full celebration mode as it held its annual awards dinner at the Savoy Soccer Club on Thursday night.

Chairperson of the academy, Marie Cunningham, told the large gathering it had been an exciting year for the group as it claimed its eighth consecutive Champion Country Club title as well as preparing for the move into its new home at the Memorial Oval Sporting Precinct.

“How fantastic is it that we can finally say we have a home,” she said.

“It’s been a long, exhausting journey and thanks to the efforts of Geoff Brock (Frome MP) and the Port Pirie Regional Council our dream became real.

“We fought long and hard for this facility. We believe in what we do and we have worked and fought like mad to get it.”

Cunningham thanked all who had contributed towards their new home but made particular mention of Garry Nayda. 

She said Nayda had never stopped believing and never gave up when the door was slammed shut.

“Thankfully, Garry didn’t walk away. In fact, I think it made him all the more determined to fight for a home for our sport,” Cunningham said. 

“Garry, there are thousands of children and their families who have been inspired by your passion for the sport.

“You’re the face behind gymnastics in our community, you must feel so proud to see your dream come true.

“Thank you, Garry, for always believing in our club. We can now go full steam ahead into the future.”

At the presentation evening, the club also celebrated the success of its School Launchpad Program.

The initiative is a Gym for Schools program held during school hours.

As part of the program, students were transported to the gymnastics academy’s facilities and were able to participate in an area with proper gymnastics equipment in a safe and supervised environment.

It was after one of the Launchpad sessions that a high school teacher approached coaches about a class for ‘at risk’ students.

From that conversation, coaches Kelly Wauchope and Mel Maywald worked with students to form the Flexible FLIPS program, an initiative that is a first for South Australia and possibly the nation.

That program will continue next year after receiving $7800 funding from Clubs SA.

Cunningham continued to outline the list of the group’s successes throughout the year and said their programs continued to grow.

“Coaches have done a great job to coordinate these programs in the library with such a high participation rate,” she said.

“And with those busy programs we’ve had to increase our coaching staff.”

The club now boasts five advanced coaches, six intermediate and beginner and three intermediate WAG judges.

“Our club has been very lucky to have some dedicated volunteers as well,” Cunningham said, paying tribute to the many volunteers who assist the group.

“This was evident for our Pirie competition.”

Later in the evening, honours were handed out to gymnasts and volunteers.

Ian Eberhard and Tracey Amey were inducted as life members of the Port Pirie Regional Gymnastics Academy.

The club handed thank you gifts to Port Pirie Regional Council chief executive officer Peter Ackland, Member for Frome Geoff Brock, Gymnastics SA’s Brenton Dicker and The Recorder’s editor Dylan Smith to thank them for supporting the academy.