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Australia's Alexandra Eade: 'I Wanted to Prove Them Wrong'
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By winning the gold medal on floor exercise at the Melbourne World Cup last month, 20-year-old Australian gymnast Alexandra Eade has new reason to be confident as she heads towards this year's other important competitions including the Commonwealth Games in April and world championships in October. Pictured: Eade at the Melbourne World Cup, flanked by runner-up Isabel Barbosa of Brazil and Tjaša Kysselef of Slovenia.

By winning the gold medal on floor exercise at the Melbourne World Cup last month, 20-year-old Australian gymnast Alexandra Eade has new reason to be confident as she heads towards this year's other important competitions including the Commonwealth Games in April and world championships in October.

Eade, the 2013 Australian junior champion, trains at the National Centre of Excellence (NCE) in Melbourne. The Sydney native enjoyed moderate success as a senior in the previous Olympic cycle and now aims to establish herself as a contender for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Following her success at the World Cup, she was named to Australia's team for next month's Commonwealth Games, which takes place in Gold City, Queensland.

In this IG Online interview, Eade shared her thoughts on her World Cup victory, last year's appointment of U.S.-based Mihai Brestyan as the Australian women's team's new head coach, and what her team will need to earn a berth to Tokyo in two years.



Alexandra Eade (Australia)

IG: What were your goals for the World Cup, and how close to achieving them did you come?

AE: Walking into the competition I wanted to hit nice, clean floor routines, and that's exactly what I did. My training leading up to the competition reflected in those routines as I felt confident in what I was doing.

IG: Based on your performance in Melbourne, what do you need to work on to score higher later this year?

AE: I still think I need to work on my landings. This is something that I have always struggled with but I am really focusing on it in my training at the moment. I am trying to have as few landing deductions as possible.

IG: You placed eighth on beam in Melbourne with a score of 9.800. What went wrong?

AE: I think my issue with beam is my confidence and self-belief. My training routines have been solid but when I competed, my nerves got the best of me. I just need to practice more competition routines by placing myself under that type of pressure.

IG: What are you plans for competing all-around going forward?

AE: Due to injury I don't participate in the all-around anymore. I focus on beam, floor and vault, trying to get my start scores and execution scores as high as possible so I can contribute to the team and hopefully make some finals in those events.

IG: Australia didn't qualify a team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, so what do you think your team will need to get on track for the 2020 Games in Tokyo?

AE: I think we need to work on getting our start scores a bit higher. But we also need to work on quality and focus on the nitty-gritty details like pointed feet, etc. Every point counts. I believe we need to work on hitting clean routines in training and not just going through the numbers. All together we need to bump up our start scores a little bit and focus on having a good execution score.

IG: Who is coaching you now?

AE: Mikhail Barabach and Tracey Penaluna were my previous coaches but they have now both left NCE. I still stay in close contact with Tracey and I see Mikhail often as he comes to training camps with Queensland. My current coaches are Shaoyi Jiang, Qing Hua Yang and Michelle De Highden.

IG: How has the transition from national team head coach Peggy Liddick to new national team coach Mihai Brestyan been for you?

AE: It's definitely been different. Mihai has changed a lot about our program. We have a whole new warm-up and strength program which focuses a lot on fitness. He has also increased the number of routines we are doing. It was hard at first, but I think I've adapted well to the increase and it has made my competitions better for it. As Mihai is living in America and flying in and out of Australia, he stays in close contact with my coaches over email and monitors my routines via video footage that my coaches send him. I still work closely with Peggy as she is a coach at the NCE.

IG: You've had international success since 2010, so what keeps you motivated in this current Olympic cycle?

AE: It's definitely been hard. I've had a few setbacks with injuries which were difficult to recover from. I think after I got injured a lot of people thought I wouldn't make it back, so I wanted to prove them wrong. I've been working hard on the sidelines for a while, getting my fitness back, and I feel like, now, I'm finally at my at my strongest. Representing your country is an indescribable feeling and I've wanted nothing more than to have that feeling again.

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