Smith pumped as debut pieces tumble into place
JACOB Smith will create a slice of Tasmanian gymnastics history when the World Championships begin in Japan next week — all on his own international debut.
Smith will compete in the men’s tumbling event, becoming the first athlete from the state to don the green and gold in the discipline.
The 22-year-old forms part of a strong Tassie contingent in both the world championships and World Age Championships, with a total of seven athletes to feature at the two-week event, which begins next Thursday, while another has been selected as a reserve.
Smith is joined in the national senior group by his coach Damien Axelsen, who is featuring at his fourth world championships.
“This is my first international competition, I’m pretty excited and just trying not to get too nervous,” said Smith, who has flown to Sydney to round out his preparations at the Kachan School of Tumbling and Performance.
Axelsen, 27, will look to use his experience against some of the best gymnasts in the world to help qualify the Australian team for the double-mini tramp final.
Siblings Matthew (17-21 years men’s individual/synchronised and double-mini) and Amber French (15-16 years women’s individual/ synchronised) spearhead Tasmania’s age titles assault.
Matthew is joined in the 17-21 men’s events by 17year-old Patrick Schluter, while 16-year-olds Flynn Caro and Callum O’Sullivan, who is making his maiden appearance on the international stage will contest the 15-16 years events alongside Amber.
Eddy Rand will be the reserve gymnast for the 17-21 year’s men’s double-mini tramp, while state coach Ben Kelly and Kingborough Gymsports club coach Alison Morgan will also travel as coaches.