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Pickering and Christie – Oceania’s trampolinists at Buenos Aires 2018

13 July 2018

BUENOS AIRES: Seventeen-year-old Jessica Pickering and 16-year-old Liam Christie are the only trampolinists selected from the Oceania region to compete at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics Games (YOG).

Luckily for Australia, these talented youngsters will compete in the green and gold.

Pickering, a Belmont NSW local, boasts several first and second place finishes across multiple National and International Championships. Christie, who is equally impressive, won gold at the 2016 Indo Pacific Trampoline Championships and has continued his golden form to date.

To qualify for a place at YOG, both Pickering and Christie needed to win their respective events at the 2018 Australian Gymnastics Championships in June. Only one male and one female could be selected from the Oceania region, with other YOG hopefuls competing from all over Australia and New Zealand.

Liam Christie 1

Pickering secured her spot early, competing in junior synchronised and individual trampoline. She obtained high scores of 89.155 and 45.165 in synchronised and 41.310 and 96.635 in her Individual event, which her competitors were unable to beat.

After 10 years of putting in up to 12 hours of training a day, her triumph comes as no surprise, but for someone so obviously focused and determined, Pickering’s cool, calm and collected approach may be the reason behind her success.

“I am a very determined athlete and I constantly strive to reach my goals, but there is one thing that sets me apart from others, which is that I can switch from focused and serious, to being able to have laugh and enjoying myself. I just love what I do, and you can see that in my bouncing,” Pickering said.

For this bubbly teenager, the last two years have been about doing whatever it takes to qualify for YOG, but that hasn’t come without sacrifices. Pickering had to forego several opportunities to participate in senior competitions as doing this would have rendered her ineligible to be selected for YOG.

Therefore, when she finally got the call that she was off to Buenos Aires, Pickering was determined to not let the opportunity go to waste.

“I was so excited when I got the big news, there were definitely some celebrations, but now I’m taking that excitement and putting it into my training,” she said,

“I train almost every day, both on the trampoline and in the gym, along with balancing piles of homework and even brushing up on some basic Spanish.”

Christie’s qualification story was similar, knowing he needed to perform better than the other Oceania competitors, like New Zealand in double mini and individual trampoline, if he wanted to represent his country at YOG.

It was a clean sweep for Christie, taking out first place in both events with a score of 71.400 and 67.400 in double-mini and 54.815 98.905 in the individual trampoline event.

The Year 11 student from the NSW Hills District says that he was always going to find a way to pursue trampolining professionally.

“When I was two, my Mum took me to Kindergym because I kept climbing all over her furniture,” Christie said. ”By the time I was about ten I was competing in Men’s Gymnastics. I was actually the State Champion in 2010, but I didn’t want to do it long-term.

“I told my Mum that I wanted to do trampolining instead, but she thought it was too dangerous, so I suggested parkour instead! Mum then decided trampolining wasn’t so dangerous and I started when I was 11.

“From the day I started, I wanted to represent Australia at the Olympics, so to be able to wear the green and gold at Buenos Aires 2018 is unbelievable.”

You can catch Pickering and Christie competing at YOG between 6 -18 October 2018 at the Parque Polideportivo Roca in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are one of 12 men and 12 women aged between 15-18 who are vying for gold in trampoline.

Liana Buratti

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