Beijing beckons for teen gymnast

THIS week could shape the destiny of Mt Waverley gymnast Emma Dennis.

The 16-year-old Waverley Gymnastics Centre member and clubmates Shona Morgan and Georgia Bonora will take part in final trials for the Olympic gymnastics team in Canberra this week.

Having made a preliminary squad of nine, the trio face three days of competition to decide on the final six plus two reserves.

Last week, Dennis this week’s Sports Star talked down expectations, though she’s set her sights on the Beijing Games for the past two years.

She says most gymnasts peak between 16-18 years old, making the 2008 Olympics and 2010 Commonwealth Games her brief window.

“I think of Beijing every day, but I try to stay focused.

“I don’t want to base my career on that one competition.”

In the meantime, she has undergone rehab to recover from a potentially catastrophic foot fracture.

“A lot of people said it was a fast recovery.

“Every day I was doing lots of rehab. I just wanted to get back on track.”

Dennis started gymnastics as a four-year-old in Moe. After moving to Melbourne when she was seven, she was quickly earmarked for Waverley Gymnastic Centre’s international squad.

Dennis says she was always a good all-rounder, but her strength is on the vault.

On that apparatus, she performs a double-twist rotation that only one other Australian female gymnast can land.