MASTER GYMNASTS: (left to right) Helen Halford, Amy Stephenson and Jade Hodges are off to the Australian Masters Games in gymnastics this week.
MASTER GYMNASTS: (left to right) Helen Halford, Amy Stephenson and Jade Hodges are off to the Australian Masters Games in gymnastics this week. Blake Antrobus

Adult gymnasts step up for Masters Games

HELEN Halford, Amy Stephenson and Jade Hodges are out to prove you're never too old to get back into gymnastics.

The trio of adult gymnasts will travel to Tasmania to compete in the Australian Masters Games for gymnastics later this week.

If successful, it will be another accolade under the belts of Stephenson and Hodges, who have practiced gymnastics most of their lives.

The competition will be Halford's first stint in an official Masters competition, having started adult gymnastics about three years ago.

She said their nomination was a sign the sport was growing in popularity.

"It's about personal development, because it's so challenging to the mind as well as the body,” Halford said.

"It's about pushing yourself.

"You might not think you can continue past being a teenager, but at the games the oldest competitor is over 70.”

But for Stephenson, it will be a return to the spotlight after more than a decade of competing.

"We competed in the Queensland Masters in Gladstone back in July, and that was the first time I had competed in about 12 years,” Stephenson said.

"I came back as a coach once my daughters showed an interest in gymnastics themselves, and it's been over a year when I started training.”

56 other competitors will partake in the games, with the trio competing in the vault, bars, beam, floors and mini-trampoline events.

The event is a return to form for Hodges, who previously took part in the 2015 Masters Games in Adelaide.

"I started when I was about four-years-old, my parents couldn't handle me jumping around the house anymore,” she said.

"I stopped at about 15 and came back years later as a coach.

"I always wanted to do adult gymnastics, so I created a local class and found the Masters Games.”

The trio's nomination comes during a boom period for the Wide Bay's gymnastics scene.

In the last term, the Wide Bay Gymnastics Club has grown by about 40%.

The Australian Masters Games gymnastics round will be held in Tasmania on October 28.



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