Meet the new gym coaches

The lofty goal set to make Wide Bay Gym­nas­tics Club a pow­er­house

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - SPORT - Matthew McIn­er­ney Matthew.McIn­er­ney@news­re­gional­me­

THEY are the new faces of Wide Bay Gym­nas­tics Club, but Chilean duo Ben Vil­lalo­bos and Carolina Ur­rea have big plans for the re­gion’s gym­nasts.

The new gym man­ager and coach started their re­spec­tive roles at the Uran­gan club last week, and al­ready have been blown away by the lo­cal tal­ent.

Vil­lalo­bos, a life-long gym­nast who has com­peted across the world, has a lofty am­bi­tion, one that could put Her­vey Bay’s next gen­er­a­tion on the path to the world’s big­gest stages.

“We have the fa­cil­i­ties, we have the gym­nasts, we have the tal­ent, so why not take a Her­vey Bay gym­nast to worlds or the Olympics?” Vil­lalo­bos mused.

A WORLD­WIDE adventure has de­liv­ered Wide Bay Gym­nas­tics Club’s two new coaches, and the Chilean cou­ple boasts am­bi­tions that could de­liver lo­cal gym­nasts to the world’s big­gest stage.

Gym man­ager Ben Vil­lalo­bos and coach Carolina Ur­rea ar­rived at Her­vey Bay last week, and have made an in­stant im­pres­sion on the club.

Vil­lalo­bos, a gym­nast of 26 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence, said that while the club’s goal is to nur­ture ca­sual ath­letes and ju­niors, he still dreams of one day tak­ing an ath­lete to the Olympic Games.

“It’s ev­ery coach’s goal to get to the Olympics so I never lose that as a main goal, to get to the Olympics with a gym­nast,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously be­fore that you have to get worlds, make the na­tional team of a coun­try, so that’s very much in the fu­ture.

“We have the fa­cil­i­ties, we have the gym­nasts, we have the tal­ent, so why not take a Her­vey Bay gym­nast to worlds or the Olympics?”

Vil­lalo­bos and Ur­rea left Chile three years ago on an odyssey that has fea­tured coach­ing stints in China, where they de­vel­oped new pro­grams for com­pet­i­tive clubs, and New Zealand.

“Most of the gym­nas­tics was gov­ern­ment-funded and run (in China),” he said. “Now there’s a new mar­ket open­ing, so that’s why we were there. Af­ter fin­ish­ing that we came back to Her­vey Bay and we’ll stay here for hope­fully the long run.”

Ur­rea, who spe­cialises in artis­tic gym­nas­tics, in­tends to teach ju­nior ath­letes bal­let and dance, both of which will im­prove rou­tine and tech­nique qual­ity.

“Bal­let is more fo­cused on pos­ture, and the bal­ance too,” Ur­rea said.

“It’s eas­ier to go to the beam or floor if you have a nice per­for­mance.

“Some­times, you work a lot on skills and prac­tice those skills, but some gym­nasts miss this part.

“If you work this part, the gym­nast is more com­plete.”

WBGC is set to cel­e­brate its 30th year, and with that comes a fo­cus on peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate in gym­nas­tics recre­ation­ally, along with the grow­ing ju­nior base.

For Vil­lalo­bos, the fo­cus is just as im­por­tant for those who par­tic­i­pate for fun.

“The kids want to get there, and as a club we’re go­ing to fo­cus on the ba­sics and develop them,” he said. “The recre­ational gym­nasts as well, some­times they might not want Olympics but they love gym­nas­tics. As a club we’ll pay more at­ten­tion to them and give them more room.”

■ WBGC will host a “sign-on and meet the coaches” ses­sion from 11am to 2pm on Satur­day, Jan­uary 20.


New coaches Carolina Ur­rea and Head Coach Ben Vil­lalo­bos.


FUN: Wide Bay Gym­nas­tics Club cel­e­brates its 30th year with new head coach Ben Vil­lalo­bos and artis­tic gym­nas­tics coach Carolina Ur­rea. One ma­jor fo­cus for the year is on those who do gym­nas­tics for fun.

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