More than 180 gymnasts, including a team of ten athletes with an average age of 70 years, will descend on Byron Bay this week to participate in Australia’s third Gym4Life Challenge from July 11 to 13.
Thirteen teams from five states will perform a range of different styles of gymnastics and dances to show that gymnastics is a sport for everybody, regardless of age, gender or ability.
Organisers say that during the event you will see exciting combinations of power tumbling, acrobatics, dance, ribbons and mini-trampoline.
Petrina Hutchinson, Gymnastics Australia’s national ‘Gym for All’ program manager, said that gymnastics is the perfect activity to prepare children for long-term participation in sport and development of vital life skills.
‘Gymnastics is the nursery of Australian sport,’ said Ms Hutchinson. ‘It provides the foundation for future sporting success and lifelong, active and healthy participation in physical activity by developing the skills of fundamental movement, confidence and competence.
‘It’s great to maintain fitness and strength throughout life, many of our clubs around Australia run ‘Gym for All’ classes designed for adults.’
A team of 70-year-old performers, who describe themselves as ‘happy and hopeful’, will be evaluated against the same criteria as all participating gymnasts, with entertainment, innovation and the quality of skill the focus rather than the difficulty of the routine.
Gymnasts who recently competed at the 2014 Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne will also perform.
The event is held every two years, and participating teams will receive a ranking of gold, silver or bronze. One team will be named the Australian Gym4Life Champion Team.
Teams may then be sanctioned to join the Australian team at the 2015 World Gymnaestrada in Helsinki, Finland – the world’s biggest sporting event based on participant numbers – or the 2017 World Gym for Life Challenge in Norway.
The event will commence with an opening ceremony featuring local performers at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex on Friday July 11 from 7pm, and there will be free outdoor performances near the Byron Peace Pole on Saturday July 12 from 10am.
The main contest will be held at the sports complex on Saturday 12 July at 3pm and Sunday 13 July at 2pm.
For more information, visit: www.gymnastics.org.au.