Young gymnasts work towards Olympic goal

ARRAN MORTONSound Telegraph

While it is yet to be decided which of the world’s cities will host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, two young Rockingham gymnasts have already begun working towards their dreams of taking home a gold medal for Australia.

Both just seven years old, Ashley Hayward and Sam Powell train at WA Institute of Sport, as part of the Women’s gymnastics program which aims to progress young athletes to the highest international level.

Stellar Gymsports’ Ali Jenkinson said Ashley, who attends Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, was spotted by Port Kennedy club coach Lorraine Fisher at the end of 2011, while Sam started with the club in November 2012.

“It was obvious right away that both girls had a flare for gymnastics,” she said.

“Both girls have extraordinary strength, a good degree of natural flexibility and great co-ordination.

“They are both small in stature, very agile, energetic and mentally bright.”

Mrs Jenkinson said the girls passed trials for the WAIS, which is based at Claremont’s Challenge Stadium, where Ashley trains for 14 hours a week and Sam for 11.

“Ashley was extremely excited to start training at WAIS in January 2012 — she is very motivated, especially on days when she shares the gym with 2012 world champion Lauren Mitchell,” she said.

“Sam was very excited too and couldn’t wait to get started in May this year.

“Both girls love to watch the older girls practice at WAIS ... they want to be the best and go on to the Olympics.”

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