All love at first bounce

A winner in familiar pose: Owen Gilbert, honoured by Gymnastics NSW.
A winner in familiar pose: Owen Gilbert, honoured by Gymnastics NSW.

WHEN Owen Gilbert was a boy of 10, his mother said he should try a sport, and suggested trampolining.

"Why not?" he said.

It was love at first bounce.

The now big boy of 20 has been bouncing along ever since, and has a lot to put on the CV.

Like captaining the NSW trampolining team at the Australian Gymnastics Championships.

Or the 2012 Indo Pacific Championships 2012; gold medals in the senior international trampoline, the sport's premier event, and the senior international double mini-trampoline at last year's NSW titles; national championship medals.

He went to Russia in 2009, to the world titles in Bulgaria last November and has now been named senior trampolinist of the year at the annual Gymnastics NSW awards night.

There is the mandatory trampoline in the Warragamba backyard where the injunction "don't try this at home" doesn't apply.

Gilbert tries lots of things at home beyond the scope of the average bounce-and-giggle backyard kids.

And he dreams of bouncing to even bigger heights, like world titles and the Olympics, to which trampolining was introduced in 2000.

To that end, he's been bouncing around at the new Rooty Hill gymnastics centre.

"He's quite talented," said Norm Hanselmann, his former coach at Ingleburn Youth Club, who's a grandfather and a former trampolinist himself. "He's got big goals but it all takes time."

Hanselmann said it was understandable Gilbert had recently transferred to Rooty Hill fulltime.

It was closer to home and close to TAFE.

Gilbert may be an elite performer, but excels in a pastime that isn't high-profile and doesn't pay its elite performers. He's an apprentice mechanical engineer — so is building a sporting career from the ground up.

This story All love at first bounce first appeared on St Marys-Mt Druitt Star.


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