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Expert trainer returns

Saturday, 16th July, 2011

EXPERTISE: Specialist coach Patrick Walden has been working with the city’s junior gymnasts with great results. EXPERTISE: Specialist coach Patrick Walden has been working with the city’s junior gymnasts with great results.

Members of the Broken Hill Gymnastics and Kindergym Club have been receiving expert instruction over the last two weeks from visiting specialist coach and ex-local Patrick Walden.

Adelaide-based Walden is a former Gymnastics Australia Coach of the Year winner and has been travelling to Broken Hill to mentor junior gymnasts for the past 15 years.

Head Coach Zoe Tonkin said Walden’s work with the city’s juniors was paying dividends, with many gymnasts progressing to complex exercises and manoeuvres.

“We have some gymnasts competing as high as level seven national Stream now and it wouldn’t be possible for us to do this if Pat didn’t come up as the skills for these levels are quite complex and need a specialised coach,” she said.

“He gives the kids a constant reinforcement of skills, and also helps us coaches too and teaches us what we need to do to keep the kids going.”

Around 20 gymnasts ranging from six to 14 years have taken part in the sessions with Mr Walden who noted their progress since his last visit.

“They’re doing some great work. Some of them are doing level seven and eight work,” he said.

“On the floor they’re doing flips, backsaults and layouts, they’re doing backflips, backsaults and dismounts off the beam and the work on the bars has had semi-elite elements.

“They’re doing really well, I wouldn’t keep coming back if they weren’t showing improvement,” he continued.

The specialist training session is just one highlight in what has been a great year for the Gymnastics Club, with more than 240 members signing on this year and all classes full.

The Kindergym program is also ready to return to its former capacity after storm damage interrupted the program in 2008.

“Storm damage impacted on our Kindergym program with the roof caving in our beautiful Kindergym room and unfortunately we are still waiting for this to be fixed,” Ms Tonkin said.

“But we have prepared a new room for all our wonderful little gymnasts, and Kindergym will be back in full swing this term.”

Kindergym runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.30am and 10.30am and all children under five are welcome to attend. Interested families can contact Ms Tonkin on 0408 987 226.

Anyone wishing to catch the city’s junior gymnasts in action are invited to come along to the Duke of Cornwall Park tomorrow for an exhibition from 10am.

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