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Liddick: Aussies May Make 'Big Move This Year'
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Following a recent training camp attended by four Olympians and other members of the Australian national team, coach Peggy Liddick told IG she has high hopes for her gymnasts at this fall's World Championships.

Dasha Joura (Australia)

"Since there is no team event at the World Championships this year, we have really taken an individual approach to the seniors from the Beijing squad," said Liddick, referring to the gymnasts who helped the Australian team place sixth at last summer's Olympic Games. "They all needed some time to regroup, let the 'niggles' heal and really get into their schooling that they all delayed."

Among the gymnasts who participated in the training camp, held April 12-18 in Canberra, were 2008 Olympians Dasha Joura, Lauren Mitchell, Georgia Bonora and Shona Morgan.

Liddick said she is encouraged that at least four of Australia's 2008 Olympians are continuing at the international level.

"I would like to think that they enjoyed their journey to Beijing and their experience at the Olympics, and that they still have a love of the sport," she said. "I know they all have goals that they want to achieve. I have taken the tack that these girls are adults now and they have been involved to a much greater extent in their next four-year plan. We are taking it slow. There is no hurry for them."

The other two competing members of the 2008 Olympic team — Olivia Vivian and Ashleigh Brennan — did not attend the camp. Vivian now competes for Oregon State University in the U.S., where Olympic team alternate Melanie Jones intends to enroll next season. Brennan is deciding her competitive future, Liddick said.

"Ashleigh is doing fitness training and has not officially retired yet," she said. "I am just not putting any pressure on her, giving her the space to make up her own mind."

Liddick said Joura, the most experienced member of the team, is healing from an ankle injury. Hampered by an ankle injury in Beijing, Joura is questionable for the World Championships that will take place Oct. 12-18 in London.

"Dasha is still rehabilitating her ankle and is making progress," Liddick said. "Only time will tell if she can be ready for October, but I will not rush her."

Lauren Mitchell at the 2008 World Cup Final in Madrid, where she won the gold on balance beam.

Among the younger gymnasts who attended the camp was 15-year-old Britt Greeley. Greeley placed second all-around to Emily Little at the 2008 Australian Junior Championships and 10th all-around in the junior competition at the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships in San Jose, Calif.

"Britt has been around an elite training environment since she was about 3 years old," Liddick said. "Her mother, Haedi, was an elite gymnast, and she has been on development squads that trained with Monette Russo, Stephanie Moorhouse and Karen Nguyen for the Athens Olympics, and with Ashleigh Brennan for the 2008 campaign, so she knows what it is all about and how to get there. It is nothing new for her."

Liddick said the Australian Championships in July should give her a good indication of which gymnasts will be candidates for Worlds.

"The girls who are ready and want to, will compete in London," Liddick said. "My expectations would be to only send gymnasts who have their routines up to a World Championships standard and those who can perform at that standard."

Although the April training camp included experienced gymnasts as well as emerging talent, Liddick said she would not single out any of them for success later this year.

"I am not going to make predictions at this time," Liddick said. "Each camp has been full of surprises and each gymnast is capable of making a big move this year, so I am looking forward to seeing what they present. I hope that they all present something exciting."

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"The Joy of Joura" - profile (March 2007)
Joura on cover (July/August 2006)
IG Interview: Lauren Mitchell (March 2008)
"National Pride" - Dennis profile (September 2007)
"Russo's World" - cover story (March 2006)
"Smooth Transition" - Russo interview (April 2004)
"More for Moorhouse" - profile (April 2003)

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