Tumbling towards Australian titles

BENDIGO might seem a long way from their home gym in Maffra, but for three future stars it was just one step on the road to the biggest gymnastics event on the Australian calendar.

Katelyn Henderson (11), Tess O’Toole (12) and Ella McCubbin (13) are now one step closer to achieving their dream of competing on the national gymnastics stage after achieving national qualifying scores in tumbling on the weekend.

The three girls have been training together for artistic gymnastics for the past six years and sometimes spend more time together training than they do with their own siblings, which makes their most recent achievement all the more special.

While still training a full program for women’s artistic gymnastics, the girls also decided to try their hand at power tumbling. Under the watchful eye of former Australian champion Robyn Dowse, the girls have begun to show real promise in this gymnastics discipline.

Tumbling requires performing a series of five or eight skills in quick succession along an inflated track. The track itself provides more spring than a floor, but not as much as a trampoline, allowing the athletes to increase both speed and power as they complete their routine.

The Maffra athletes performed a mix of flips, layouts and twisting somersaults, much to the amazement of onlookers.

The three girls competed on Sunday in two competitions held in Bendigo, a powerhouse of tumbling talent in Victoria.

Katelyn successfully completed both her five and eight skill passes to come away with a second in the first competition and a win in the second, in the national under 13 division.

Ella and Tess both competed in the national under 15 division, with Tess taking gold in competition one and silver in competition two, and after a few mistakes in the first event, Ella bounced back to win the gold in the second.

Topping off a successful campaign, all three girls have achieved national qualifying scores, which should see them well placed to be named on the Victorian team to compete at Hi-Sense Arena in the Australian championships later in the year.

Katelyn, despite being the youngest of the trio, is the veteran of the group, having been selected for the 2017 state tumbling team and competing at the marquee event. She was thrilled to be on track for a second state representation and to be able to share in the experience with two of her best friends.

In a sign of true sporting dedication, all three girls were back in the gym only 24 hours after their success preparing for their first level seven WAG competition of the season on Sunday.