Source: Andrew O’Connor
Recently, it has been brought to my attention that the Western Australian Government has decided to close down the elite gymnastics program in the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) later this year.
Over the years, this premier training centre has produced 9 Olympians, 10 Commonwealth Games representatives and several World Championship medalists. Both Allana Slater and Lauren Mitchell trained at WAIS and achieved outstanding results, winning World Championship medals. WAIS runs an extremely well maintained program with excellent support crew and facilities – providing gymnasts with weights training and even a recovery centre.
Closing down this centre will be devastating to many athletes and has already generated a lot of disappointment even though it hasn’t officially closed down yet. WAIS is only 1 of 2 elite training centres that are still up and running that cater for the women elite gymnasts in Australia. Soon, there will only be the Victorian Institute of Sports left for the elite gymnasts.
When WAIS closes down these elite gymnasts will have no choice but to end their Olympic pursuits or move down to Victoria to pursue their career if they wish to do so. However, this is no ideal situation for anyone as it will interrupt the gymnasts training regimes and force them to adapt to a different gymnastics environment with new coaches and athletes. Additionally, families will have to provide additional funding to cover new living arrangement expenses and travel costs.
This year the Australian female gymnasts suffered a huge setback where they did not qualify for the Rio Olympics. Now, closing down the WAIS is not a solution to this problem. I urge you all to do something before it’s too late. Let’s not make the lack of qualification become a tradition.
If you’d like to read more into this issue, check out this article!