Boom times for Gymnastics Australia as the sport clocks up a new membership record in 2017.
Sophie Waddell, 7, who attends Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club, was officially registered as the 200,000th athlete member recently.
The milestone moment marks the 17th year of continuous growth for gymnastics membership and participation in Australia with the total number of athletes up more than 11% on 2016.
In addition, more than 1.1 million people are estimated to have participated in gymnastics and other similar activities at 607 affiliated clubs across Australia, meaning more than 1.3 million participants were exposed to gymnastics across the nation this year.
Not only is participation soaring but the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships were broadcast live nationally in 2017 for the first time in 12 years.
Waddell, a Level 1 Women’s Artistic Gymnastics athlete, was the centre of attention during a special presentation in Canberra this month, attended by Gymnastic Australia's CEO, Mark Rendell.
Gymnastics boss said it was an exciting time for the sport of balance, speed, flexibility, strength, control, and finesse in Australia.
“Gymnastics is a great sport for boys and girls, men and women of all ages to participate in, and with the recent rise in the profile of women’s sport at a mainstream level, there is no more exciting time than now to watch the continual rise of Gymnastics in Australia,” Rendell said.
“At Gymnastics Australia we are excited to deliver programs that not only produce quality athletes at the highest level, but also actively target all Australians to live healthy active lives from an early age, with our fundamental movement-based programs.
“In addition to that, Gymnastics Australia now has almost 7,000 registered and professionally trained coaches across the nation, to ensure that Gymnastics continues to be accessible to all.”
Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club was also presented with a Certificate of Achievement to mark the 200,000th event, with Rendell joined by Director of Active Canberra Jenny Priest, and Australian World Cup medallist Naomi Lee for the presentations.
Club president, Bob Weight, said he was thrilled the Canberra outfit was part of the record-breaking moment.
“With over 1,200 registered athlete members, Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club is thriving and is reflective of the strength of the sport of gymnastics in Australia,” Weight said.
A final tally for 2017 athlete memberships is to be released at the beginning of 2018.