NSW Academy of Gymnastics welcome international athletes

Gymnastics is a truly international sport and at Bill Parsons' NSW Academy of Gymnastics it has never been so obvious.

Over the last month Parsons' Caringbah gym has had a revolving door of international competitors coming to the shire to train under his successful coaching regime. The academy has a prestigious record of achievement at regional, state, national and overseas competitions.

Parsons founded the NSW Academy of Gymnastics in 1971 and his team have coached and developed children from two to 24-years-old.

Parsons was awarded the women's artistic gymnastics coach/coaching team of the year in NSW every year from 2006 to 2011 and was awarded an Australian Sports Medal for his services to gymnastics in 2000.

Over the last month the 11-member Indian Millennium School of Gymnastics spent three weeks at Parsons' gym participating in a gymnastic training exchange program.

Head male coach Ajit Jarande said the athletes were here to learn from Parsons and his coaches and also for his team to interact with other gymnasts.

"Competition is very strong in Australia and we like to learn from other competitors and about other culture before we go back to our competition season. It is an international sport and its good to interact with different communities," Jarande said.

Robyn Eastgate, an 11-year-old Fijian competitor, spent a week in Brisbane and a week at the Caringbah academy to help her dream of becoming a gymnast.

Fiji's system is not as developed as in Australia and they are trying to build it up and if you want to grow you have to travel, said her father Albert.

"Training here is something I've never experienced before. It's so much better and they have a lot more equipment and I'm learning a lot," Robyn said. Robyn who competes under a colour level system (yellow, green and blue ribbons) as opposed to the Australian level 7, 8, 9, 10 system.

Two Australian girls living and competing in Peru have also spent time training at Caringbah this month, twins Amelia and Annabelle Jeyachandran.

The daughters of Christian Missionaries, they have been living in Arequipa since they were three and compete in women's artistic gymnastics in Peru's national gymnastic titles.

Women's artistic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that combines a creative blend of mastery on the four apparatus (vault, beam, floor and uneven bars) which requires skills that flip, balance, swing and soar.

Amelia recently finished third in level three and Annabelle fifth in level four and their mother Christine said the academy had a good reputation with good state and national results.

"It's good to see what their coaches can bring out of the girls and they can take back home what they have learned here and share with others," Christine said.

Amelia said their gymnastics club is as big but doesn't have the same amount of equipment and she can feel herself getting stronger training here.

"Concentration is the skill I am working on," her sister Annabel said. "I have to learn to get focused. I am getting better at it."

It's not just international competitors that have benefited from the academy's coaching with two local girls the top NSW gymnasts in the latest women's artistic gymnastic Australian titles held in Melbourne.

Jaymi Aronowitz, 16, who has trained for 11 years at the academy was the top state finisher in level 10. While Zoe Aldridge, a member of the NSW team, finished fourth in Australia in level 9 in women's artistic gymnastics.

With only six gymnasts selected in the NSW team, Jaymi who is strongest on the bars, competed as an individual in the women's artistic program finishing sixth in Australia and beating the entire NSW women's team, with Queensland the strongest state.

Zoe, who was in the NSW team, has trained for 10 years and is looking forward to competing next in level 10 and getting on the selection pathways for Commonwealth and Olympic Game selection and Parsons has confidence that she can make it if she really commits and works hard towards it.


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