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Morgans: Australian Title ‘More Than I Had Hoped For’
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First-time Australian men’s all-around champion Mitchell Morgans hopes his recent national victory will lead to global success at this fall’s World Championships in Stuttgart and ultimately a berth to next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Born September 23, 1992, in Wahroonga, NSW, Morgans has been a mainstay on the Australian senior scene since 2011. As a junior he trained under coach Robert Hong, and when he began his senior career he trained under coach Sergei Chinkar. Morgans currently trains under coach Vladimir Vatkin. Morgans won the all-around title at the Australian Championships in Melbourne in late May by a convincing 2.467-point margin of victory.

Morgans has earned his top international results on high bar, on which he finished second at the 2017 World Cup of Melbourne, fourth at the ’17 World Cup of Doha, fifth at the ’17 World Cup of Cottbus, seventh at the ’17 World University Games in Taipei, and second at the ’18 World Cup of Cottbus. He made his World Championships debut in Montreal in 2017, and also competed at the 2018 Worlds in Doha.

In this IG Online interview, the optimistic Morgans shared his thoughts on winning the Australian all-around title, his role on the determined Australian team and his finals-focused plans for upcoming international competitions.

IG: Going into the Australian Championships, what was your goal in terms of placement and performance, and how did you measure up to those expectations?

MM: This year was a little different to previous years as it was also the Oceania Championships. This meant Australia was competing against New Zealand in order to qualify a team into this year’s World Championships. As such, my primary goal was to help team Australia finish first, while getting back into the all-around and making all six of my routines. I knew achieving this would put me in good contention for the all-around title. However, having not competed in an all-around competition for two years, I wasn’t expecting to win. I was hoping to use this as stepping stone to the World Championships, so coming away with that win was more than I had hoped for and it being my first one made it even more exciting.

IG: You won the all-around by a comfortable margin; how did you stay as competitive as possible knowing you did not have anyone especially close to you challenging for the title?

MM: As the team result was more important, that was what drove me to stay competitive throughout the competition. However, I never think about how far in front I am. I want to be the best I can be, which means pushing as hard as I can, all the way until the end. I guess it did help having my main two events at the back end of the competition as I was really hoping to make the finals.

IG: How much pressure do the recent injuries to (Australian team standouts) Chris Remkes and Clay Stephens place on you to lead the Australian team?

MM: Not having Chris and Clay was a massive loss to the strength of our team and, although it was really unfortunate for them, I’m incredibly proud of my fellow teammates who were able to put aside all the pressure and handle the competition like the champions they are. I always knew it was going to be hard but I was confident the team could rise to the occasion.

IG: What improvements have you and the team made since last year's World Championships in Doha?

MM: Leading into the World Championships last year a lot of our team members were either coming back from an injury or had just sustained an injury. This year, we will be focusing on staying fit and healthy. We have been working closely with our extended coaching and support team to ensure we can compete to the best of our ability.

IG: What are your personal and team targets for the World Championships in Stuttgart?

MM: My personal targets are to compete in the all-around and hopefully qualify for the Olympics. I would also like to either make a final or finish as close to making a final in one of my two main events. As for the team, we are really hoping to pull together some really solid and clean routines, finishing as high as we can. I know many of my teammates will be hoping to finish as close to the finals as they can.

IG: Historically you have achieved your best results on the "bar" events. What makes you especially suited to parallel bars and high bar?

MM: I’ve always loved high bar and p-bars. It was something my junior coach always tried to encourage me to do more of, as it was something I really enjoyed doing as a kid. I wouldn’t say my physique is suited to these events; I just enjoy doing them.

IG: What will your competition agenda look like between now and Tokyo?

MM: I definitely plan on trying to qualify for the Olympics so I would like to finish off the last part of the World Cup series. This would give me some more competition experience leading into the Games and if all goes well, give me an opportunity to qualify. I would also like to compete at the Toyota Cup in Japan later this year. This competition will allow me to get a feel for the atmosphere in Japan and the equipment they will use at the Games. If I’m lucky enough to qualify, my main focus will be staying fit and healthy.

IG: With a long trail of success behind you, what are your thoughts on staying on through the next Olympic cycle and trying for Paris 2024?

MM: I would love to consider continuing on for another Olympic cycle. I guess it would depend on whether my body can keep up with the demand. Even if I have to cut back on the all-around and specialize on a few events, I would consider it.  If I had it my way I’m sure I would do another two cycles!

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