GYMNAST Taylor Ellison has overcome crippling back injuries to be selected in the Australian gymnastics team for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) later this month.
The Windsor Downs local has been battling stress fractures for the past two years, but it hasn’t stopped her reaching the top in her chosen discipline of trampoline.
Injury prevented Ellison from competing at one of the two qualifying events for the AYOF, but she was still deemed good enough to make the Australian squad – much to her surprise.
“I’m really glad that I’ve made it – it’s been a really big step,” Ellison said.
“I was shocked and was in disbelief. I had to keep clicking in and out of the email a few times just to make sure that I’d actually made it.
“It’s the highest level I can be at for my age at the moment –it’s the junior Olympics and it’s surreal.”
Despite battling injury for the past two years, the 16-year-old insisted that she would be virtually 100 per cent fit and would compete without the injury in the back of her mind.
“I just need to manage my injuries and make sure my pain levels are okay. I have stress fractures in my back, which I developed about two years ago. I’ll be 99 per cent fit for the competition,” Ellison said.
“Once I’m in my routine, I’ll block it all out and focus on what I’m doing.”
The AYOF, which runs from January 16-20 at Homebush, will be the perfect opportunity for Ellison to gauge where she’s at in relation to the world’s best gymnasts – many of whom will be Olympians in 2016 a Rio de Jeneiro.
“I think I’ll figure out a lot of the other competitors, as well as myself, and see how I compare to them which will help me know if I can fulfil that Olympic dream,” Ellison said.
“It’s going to be very difficult because we’re taking on different countries like China, Japan, Canada and Great Britain. They’re all very strong countries and it takes a lot of training to beat them, especially China.
“I would like to go to the Olympics, but that is a very big commitment because I would probably have to move to Adelaide where the Australian head coach is.”
Ellison will compete on January 19, and admission to the festival is free.