Fam­i­lies who moved to be closer to WAIS lament clo­sure

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

FLOREAT par­ents Re­becca Fiori and Na­dine En­twhis­tle say con­tra­dic­tory rea­sons are be­ing given for the clo­sure of the women’s gym­nas­tics pro­gram at Mount Clare­mont’s WA In­sti­tute of Sport (WAIS) an­nounced last week.

Mrs Fiori said WAIS said the clo­sure was be­cause of falling re­sults in the past 10 years.

“But the re­sults from the National Cham­pi­onships show the girls com­ing through for the future are from here in WA,” she said.

WAIS’s an­nounce­ment of De­cem­ber’s shut­down of the Women's Artis­tic Gym­nas­tics National Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence to pri­ori­tise re­sources to other ath­letes prompted Gym­nas­tics Aus­tralia’s ac­cu­sa­tion of a “cruel” de­ci­sion.

Mrs Fiori moved her fam­ily to Floreat from The Vines, near El­len­brook, so that her daugh­ter, vault spe­cial­ist and 2024 Olympic hope­ful Mikala (11) could at­tend WAIS with­out two hours com­mut­ing daily.

“The thing now that’s hit her is she may never be an Olympian if she has to go back to club level, but my con­cern is for the older kids who are in train­ing for closer Olympics, and the future of their coaches ” Mrs Fiori said.

This year, the En­twhis­tle fam­ily moved from Gidge­gan­nup to Floreat for daugh­ter and Com­mon­wealth Games hope­ful Lara (10), who started at Swan Dis­tricts Gym­nas­tics Club when she was five.

Like many of her con­tem­po­raries, Lara trains up to 26 hours a week at WAIS, but while her fam­ily lived in the Swan Hills, she had to get up at 5am for a 6am start and was of­ten not at home un­til 7.45pm.

Last Thursday, WAIS met with af­fected par­ents, af­ter which Mrs Fiori and Mrs En­twhis­tle said that de­spite the un­cer­tainty, they were con­fi­dent the State Gov­ern­ment, Gym­nas­tics WA and Gym­nas­tics Aus­tralia could reach a so­lu­tion.

Asked if tal­ented gym­nasts would now have to move, WAIS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Steve Lawrence said it was “up the sport to de­ter­mine” the national high per­for­mance train­ing’s future, but WAIS would con­trib­ute.

Mr Lawrence said the pro­gram’s fee-pay­ing ju­nior com­po­nent would re­turn to Gym­nas­tics WA, and WAIS would work on a tran­si­tion plan.

Pic­ture: Jon Bas­sett

Floreat par­ents Re­becca Fiori (left) and Na­dine En­twhis­tle moved for their daugh­ters Lara (front) and Mikala to at­tend WAIS.

Gym­nast Paige James’s future is now un­cer­tain af­ter fund­ing cuts to the women's artis­tic pro­gram.

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