Meet the new gym coaches
The lofty goal set to make Wide Bay Gymnastics Club a powerhouse
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.