THREE of the South Coast’s top acrobats have done their country proud at the recent Flanders International Acro World Cup, held in Puurs, Belgium.
Running February 12-18, Gerringong’s Olivia Wilson (22), Kiama’s Elise Callaghan (23) and Mount Kembla’s Jess Adams (15), who train out of the Oak Flats Albion Park Gymnastics and Acrobatics Club, finished 10th in their senior trio division.
“When we first arrived, we had a few days of training to practise our routines on the competition floor,” Wilson said.
“On Thursday, we competed our dynamic routine and were sitting in ninth place, with the fourth highest artistry score.
“On Friday, we competed our balance routine but a small mistake bumped us down to 10th place overall.
“We competed against some of the best countries in the world including Belguim and the Netherlands and we are so proud of our achievements.”
Despite not making the finals of the competition, the trio were stoked just to be able to compete on the world stage.
“Competing for Australia internationally is the pinnacle of our sport,”Callaghan said.
“As it isn’t recognised in the Olympics yet, competing at the senior level is as high as you can go.
“This is Jess’ third competition representing Australia, while for Olivia and myself it is our first.
“We are all incredibly proud to have reached this elite level, and so this competition is definitely a significant achievement for us all.”
Incredibly, this trio has only been training together since July last year, much less than the normal two years that most trios are together.
“Olivia and I were originally in a trio with a different base and we competed in Las Vegas in April 2017,” Adams said.
“After that, our other base had to quit and we were lucky enough to have Elise step in in July.”
During that time, the senior trio competed in three different events, which saw them qualify for the Flanders International Acro World Cup.
“It was a long process for us to qualify for the Flanders International Acro World Cup,” Wilson said.
“We had about three months to get ourselves ready for the first qualifying competition, which usually takes up to a year.
“We competed at National Clubs in Bendigo in September, where we gained a place on the Australian national squad.
“We were then invited to compete at the World Championship Trials in Sydney in November, where we achieved the qualifying score for the World Championships.
“Unfortunately we weren’t chosen to compete at Worlds but we were invited to compete for Australia at the Flanders Cup.”
The competition marks the end of the careers of Callaghan and Wilson, who have been in the sport for 17 and 15 years respectively – with the former returning to the sport after a six year exile just for this competition.
During that time, Wilson won Australian national group of the year in another trio and captained the NSW state team.
While Adams, who has competed at two previous world championships in Paris and China, will be aiming for selection on the Australian team for the next world championships in 2020 with her new partners in the junior division.