Seven Tasmanian trampoline gymnasts competing at Indo-Pacific trampoline championships

Tassie talents: Josh Hedley-Williams, Makonnen Brown and Ned Whiting are all set to represent their state.
Tassie talents: Josh Hedley-Williams, Makonnen Brown and Ned Whiting are all set to represent their state.

Seven Tasmanian trampoline gymnasts will represent Australia next week at the Indo-Pacific trampoline championships in Napier, New Zealand.

Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa will contest the event.

Tasmania has had a colourful history in trampoline gymnastics with Jack Penny narrowly missing the Olympic position for the Rio Games earlier this year and state coach Ben Kelly believes it is time to focus on the emerging talent around the state.

The 2004 Indo-Pacific championships was the event that kick-started Penny’s international career and Kelly acknowledges the contribution Penny has made inspiring the next generation of gymnasts.

Of the seven representatives, three have been taking part in the Gymnastics Australia team future initiative focusing on developing Olympic candidates for 2020 and beyond.

Hobart brother and sister Matthew and Amber French will compete in the under-17 and under-15 divisions respectively. This will be Matthew’s third consecutive Indo-Pacific competition with his personal best performances being a silver medal in the under-15 men’s event in South Africa in 2014.

Amber is ranked second in the youth women’s trampoline event from national championships and was crowned Level 7 women’s champion at the national clubs carnival in Bendigo three weeks ago.

Launceston gymnasts Makonnen Brown and Josh Hedley-Williams will compete in the 17+ men’s events, having both represented Australia at two world age championships.

Brown is ranked second in the junior men’s trampoline from national championships, while Hedley-Williams has turned his attention to individual trampoline after specialising in double-mini over the past four years.

Debutants to the Australian team are Patrick Schluter (Hobart), Ned Whiting (Launceston) and Eddy Rand (Hobart).

Schluter and Whiting have been participating in the team future initiative over three years and will compete in the under-15 men’s events in New Zealand.

Meanwhile Rand will compete in all three of the under-17 divisions, including synchronised trampoline with Matthew French.

Kelly will travel to New Zealand as part of the Australian coaching team while Penny will swap the leotard for a suit and represent Australia for the first as a team judge.

Launceston based Philippa Hedley is assistant team manager.

The Tasmanian team will depart Tuesday morning from Hobart and Launceston airports.