Families who moved to be closer to WAIS gymnastics program lament closure


Floreat parents Rebecca Fiori (left) and Nadine Entwhistle moved for their daughters Lara (front) and Mikala to attend WAIS.
Picture: Jon Bassett
Families who moved to be closer to WAIS gymnastics program lament closure
Floreat parents Rebecca Fiori (left) and Nadine Entwhistle moved for their daughters Lara (front) and Mikala to attend WAIS. Picture: Jon Bassett

FLOREAT parents Rebecca Fiori and Nadine Entwhistle say contradictory reasons are being given for the closure of the women’s gymnastics program at Mount Claremont’s WA Institute of Sport (WAIS) announced last week.

Mrs Fiori said WAIS said the closure was because of falling results in the past 10 years.

“But the results from the National Championships show the girls coming through for the future are from here in WA,” she said.

WAIS’s announcement of December’s shutdown of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics National Centre of Excellence to prioritise resources to other athletes prompted Gymnastics Australia’s accusation of a “cruel” decision.

Mrs Fiori moved her family to Floreat from The Vines, near Ellenbrook, so that her daughter, vault specialist and 2024 Olympic hopeful Mikala (11) could attend WAIS without two hours commuting daily.

“The thing now that’s hit her is she may never be an Olympian if she has to go back to club level, but my concern is for the older kids who are in training for closer Olympics, and the future of their coaches ” Mrs Fiori said.

This year, the Entwhistle family moved from Gidgegannup to Floreat for daughter and Commonwealth Games hopeful Lara (10), who started at Swan Districts Gymnastics Club when she was five.

Like many of her contemporaries, Lara trains up to 26 hours a week at WAIS, but while her family lived in the Swan Hills, she had to get up at 5am for a 6am start and was often not at home until 7.45pm.

Last Thursday, WAIS met with affected parents, after which Mrs Fiori and Mrs Entwhistle said that despite the uncertainty, they were confident the State Government, Gymnastics WA and Gymnastics Australia could reach a solution.

Asked if talented gymnasts would now have to move, WAIS executive director Steve Lawrence said it was “up the sport to determine” the national high performance training’s future, but WAIS would contribute.

Mr Lawrence said the program’s fee-paying junior component would return to Gymnastics WA, and WAIS would work on a transition plan.