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82 Y O Gymnast Proving Age Is No Barrier

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Margaret Wilson.  Image Supplied.  

Margaret Wilson will make her mark on the Gymnastics Queensland Masters event, competing in the group routine for the Gladstone Gymnastics Club — only a few days after her 82nd birthday.

The great-grandmother will be competing alongside more than 30 athletes from six clubs in Gladstone on Sunday 14 July.

Athletes from Gladstone Gymnastics Club, Bundaberg PCYC, YMCA Caloundra, Wide Bay Gymnastics Club, Urban Gymnastics Club, and Sunshine Coast Gymnastics Academy will be fighting fit for the event.

Ms Wilson decided to give gymnastics a try when she saw a pamphlet about her local club three years ago, and hasn’t looked back since.

“I have only missed three days since I started and I really look forward to it every week,” said Ms Wilson.

“It’s nice to meet all the ladies, instead of sitting at home. I have never done anything like it but I love it. Last year I competed in a ribbons event and my eight-year-old great-grandson watched me compete.”

Gymnastics Queensland Chief Executive Officer Kym Dowdell said the competition has gained momentum in the sport, as more and more athletes continue to compete later in life.

“There is a growing awareness for athletes over the age of 18 to stay competitive in the sport. There are gymnast in their 80s who not only enjoy keeping up their fitness, but want to see just how good they can be,” said Ms Dowdell.

“It’s a great way to promote friendship and fun participation regardless of age, gender or level of fitness.”

45-year-old WAG gymnast Joanne Everett from Wide Bay Gymnastics has been coaching for a few years and decided to jump back into competitions.

The mother-of-four said she has really loved getting back into it and believes it also helps with her coaching.

Ms Everett was coached by Gymnastic Queensland’s Kym Dowdell before leaving the discipline when she was 16 years old.

“We are certainly encouraging people to get involved later in life. We have a lot of people from all different backgrounds joining our club and realising they can actually do it,” said Ms Everett.

There are now 12 athletes in the masters division at the Wide Bay Gymnastics Club.

Ms Dowdell said the event will be a chance for anyone interested in joining the sport to see what it’s all about.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, gymnastics can still be enjoyable and competitive,” said Ms Dowdell.

“Entry is free for children under 18, with adult tickets available at the door for just $5.”

The Queensland Masters Event will be held at the Gladstone Gymnastic Club, Yarron Street, Gladstone on 14 July.

For further details regarding this event, please visit www.gymqld.org.au.