Trampolinists aim high at championships

Seven Tasmanian trampoline gymnasts chosen to represent Australia at next week's Indo-Pacific Championships at Sydney's Olympic Park made their final preparations at a training camp at Launceston PCYC yesterday. 

This will be the fifth Indo-Pacific competition for Launceston's Tasmanian Institute of Sport scholarship holder and Olympic squad member Jack Penny, who will compete in the senior international men's individual event and the synchronised event with long-term synchronised partner Jarrod Spear, of Queensland.

The reigning national synchronised champions will be looking for another podium finish in Sydney.

''Jack is in great form leading into this event, increasing his height and technique after a recent visit to the National Training Centre,'' state coach Ben Kelly said. 

Trampoline gymnastics has added a new variable called time of flight or jumping height, which is added to the judges' scores, making the overall height of the routine an important aspect of the sport. 

International gymnasts are now completing 20-second routines scaling 10 metres high and Penny hopes to match some of the world's best.

Tasmania is sending a strong contingent of juniors to the competition. 

National champions Hugh McConnell and Aidan Collins will compete in the under-17 men's individual trampoline and double-mini tramp, before teaming up for the synchronised event.

McConnell is the national champion for both junior and under-17s trampoline, while Collins holds the crowns for the double-mini.

Kelly believes both are strong contenders in Sydney. 

Damien Axelsen will rejoin the Australian contingent in the 17+ events after a four-year absence because of injury. 

Newcomers to the team Makonnen Brown (under 15s), Matthew French (under 13s) and Ryan Williams (under 17s) will make their Australian debuts.

Kelly will operate as assistant coach, Leigh Oswin as judge and Jo Penny as team manager.

Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Thailand will also attend the October 13 to 20 event.

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