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Canberra gymnast competes at Commonwealth Games

Sarah Hill

Canberra is a transient city, and we host a range of people who come here for work, or study or to pursue some other ambition.

We get to witness, know and support them along their way. One of them is Mitch Morgans, one of Australia’s top gymnasts who lives and trains right here in Canberra.

Mitch moved to Canberra on a scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport. He appreciates the support in he gets from his home state of Queensland and admits that he needs to get used to the cooler weather. “The AIS in Canberra has the best gymnastics facilities in Australia” he says. “I have one of the best coaches, and I train with the best”

“Being at the AIS also means that I have access to nutritionists, physios and medical treatment”.

“All this support puts me in the best position for training and competition”.

Mitch acknowledges that it is hard for some athletes who move to Canberra to train, especially the younger ones who have just moved out of home for the first time.  However, he says that coming to Canberra was the right thing to do.

“To be the best in gymnastics, Canberra is where I need to be”

“The scholarship has really helped me a lot. Gymnastics is expensive, and it’s hard to work full-time and also train the hours I need to. So I’m really grateful for this opportunity”.

Mitch’s average day consists of about six hours of training, plus a physio or recovery session, and he also works part-time coaching kids’ gymnastics. Like most elite athletes, his entire life revolves around his sport.

“I love the training. I love improving and getting better and better. Going to competitions and winning medals is great but I do this because I want to be the best in the world at it. That’s my goal”

Mitch talks about this with a passion that is rarely seen in 25 year olds, a time when most  are just starting out in their career and still figuring out what they want to do in life. It’s hard to imagine being at the height of your career, and one of the best in the world at such a young age.

“I know that there is a limited time for my career in gymnastics. That’s why I want to give it everything. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. And I have so much respect for gymnastics”

Mitch wants to raise the profile of gymnastics in Australia, particularly the men’s gymnastics team.

“Most people think of women’s gymnastics or they think of other countries. I think people just don’t know about the Australian Men’s team”.

“2014 was a terrible year for us. We had a lot of injuries. But right now, we’re looking good and we’re really pushing for a podium finish at the Commonwealth Games”.

Last month’s World Cup was a triumph for the men’s team. One of Mitch’s team mates, Chris Remkes won gold on the vault and another, Michael Mercieca, had a clean routine on parallel bars.

Everyone was waiting to see Mitch on the high bar. Mitch is renowned for big skills. He has a high difficulty, heart-stopping routine. It’s great for spectators but also a bit stressful to watch when you know just how much he has invested in it, and how much he wants it.

Mitch secured a place on the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games and competed this week, and Canberrans were on the edge of their seat supporting him. You can follow his progress on Instagram.

Images courtesy of Winkipop Media.

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Sarah Hill

Sarah is studying Journalism at the University of Canberra. She has an immense interest in people and hearing their stories. She is passionate about human interest journalism. One of her biggest motivations for pursuing a career in journalism is to help share people’s stories with a wider audience. She believes that there are good people all over the world who are doing great things. They have passions, hopes, successes and they also face challenges. These people might not be famous or powerful but their stories are important, and can be quite meaningful and relevant to others. More about the Author