Aussie tumblers bid for Olympic berths
25 November 2015
GYMNASTICS: Australia's best tumblers will ditch conservatism and go for broke in a bold approach national trampoline coach Brett Austine hopes will deliver the nation at least one berth at next year's Rio Olympics.
The World Trampoline Championships get underway in Denmark on Thursday night (AEST), where seven Australians will be vying not only for world titles, but also the Olympic places on offer for the eight finalists in each of the men's and women's competitions.
And to do it, Austine says his team of jumpers need to test the limits of their abilities.
"I don't know that that everybody was particularly happy with the agenda that I set," Austine said of his risky approach.
"In the past there's probably been the attitude that as Australians, we will get our routine right, really nail them down, execute and get rewarded for our execution.
"The realities of it are that everybody's doing that, and we need to find something additional.
"I've asked everybody to up the ante - do the harder routines, get more points for degree of difficulty, jump higher.
"If we can do that, I'd say we are on track for an Australian-best performance for our team."
That would mean bettering the efforts of Ji Wallace - Australia's silver medallist from the 2000 Olympics - who finished fifth at the 1999 world championships.
Newcastle's Shaun Swadling went close to matching Wallace's feat when he finished seventh at last year's world championships, and while a similar result would earn Australia a spot in Rio, Austine knows the 22-year-old will have to raise the bar.
"Shaun really exploded on the scene with that performance," Austine said.
"He's improved since last year, but I anticipate the level of competition - given the stakes - is going to be that much tougher.
"We expect them to need to score an additional one point above the requirements to make the final last year."
Joining Swadling in the men's event will be older brother Ty, 2012 Olympian Blake Gaudry and Tasmanian Jack Penny, while Abbie Watts, Claire Arthur and Eva Kierath will compete in the women's event.
Should they fail to secure a berth in the final, the group will at least want to ensure they finish in the top 24, which earns participants a invitation to the Rio test event in April, when another 16 Olympic berths will be on offer.