Gymnastics Australia steps in to save the sport in WA

Lily Campbell withTony Buti, Nic Smith, and Myah and Poppy Smith 10.
Lily Campbell withTony Buti, Nic Smith, and Myah and Poppy Smith 10.

GYMNASTICS Australia has stepped in and saved the sport for WA athletes after the Western Australian Institute of Sport decided to shut down its program earlier this year.

Kelmscott’s Mia Campbell said she was thrilled with the decision as it meant her daughter Lily could keep pursuing her dreams.

“If GA hadn’t saved the program we’d have had to move to Melbourne and we’ve got four other children, our own business, where do you draw the line?”

GA will be introducing a new, tougher program to bring Australian gymnastics in line with international competitors like the USA.

Mrs Campbell said the program would be much more expensive than the one offered by WAIS.

“We’re looking into sponsorship from local businesses because it’s about $750 a month.”

She said children had already been withdrawn from Lily’s classes.

“It costs us $150 week in petrol, on top of uniforms, camp; I know one family who have spent $12,500 travelling overseas this year.”

Gymnasts do not receive prize money and high paying contracts with sporting brands are rare.

Lily, who at seven has been training for three years, will be eligible to enter Olympic level competition when she turns sixteen in 2028.

“It’s a long term investment,” said Mrs Campbell.

GA has applied for funding from the State government to run its high intensity programs.

“We’ve had a lot of support, especially from Labor who understand how important this is to WA,” said Mrs Campbell.

The new GA National Centre of Excellence for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics will be housed in the old Mount Claremont Venue from January 1 2017.

Caption: Lily Campbell, 7, Nic Smith (Head Coach), Myah 10 & Poppy Smith 10 Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d462718