Aussie gymnasts head to Glasgow eyeing Rio
13 October 2015
GYMNASTICS: Australia's female gymnasts leave for Glasgow this week hoping their trip to Scotland can secure another plane flight - this time to next year's Rio Olympics.
The seven-strong artistic unit return to the scene of the 2014 Commonwealth Games - for this month's world championships, which double as Olympic qualifiers.
A top eight finish in the teams event in Glasgow will secure Australia a teams berth in Rio - but that's far from a guarantee, particularly with former world champion Lauren Mitchell watching the event from home.
Mitchell is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered in June, but the 24-year-old - who claimed Australia's first and only artistic world title on the floor in 2010 - is hoping to return in time for the Olympics.
It will be up to the new breed, Georgia Godwin and Madelaine Leydin, along with Georgia-Rose Brown, Larrissa Miller, Mary-Anne Monckton, Kiara Munteanu and Emily Little, to secure the teams berth in Glasgow.
Should they fail to make the final at the world titles, the Aussies still need to do enough to ensure they make the gymnastics test event in Rio next April - when another four teams can secure an Olympic berth.
"I would really love it if we did that," coach Peggy Liddick said of a top eight finish.
"Then we could bypass the test event.
"But what we really need to do, without putting extra pressure on ourselves, we need to finish in the top 16 to make it through to the next round ... if we finish 9-16 we get to go to the test event.
"We're ranked anywhere from sixth to 10th at the moment, and in this sport it's so unpredictable.
"It depends on the judges on the day ... it could go either way.
"Last year at the world championships we pipped Germany by 0.1 of a point (to finish top eight) ... you just don't know."
With Mitchell's future uncertain, a lot will now fall on the shoulders of 17-year-old Godwin, who took out the all-around at this year's national championships.
Godwin will again compete in the all-around at the world championships - beginning October 23 - though she will go into her first major event on a less than ideal lead-up.
"Post nationals she got diagnosed with a stress reaction in her back," Liddick said of Godwin.
"We had to take eight weeks off, so we're just actually now building up.
"The rest of the girls are tapering, with Georgia, she's improving daily, it's exciting to see her progress."
The team is due to fly out on Thursday.