Anna Harrington / AAP News
Australia’s male artistic gymnasts say they are ready to shrug off their 12-year Commonwealth Games team medal drought and take it up to favourites England in Birmingham.
The men’s category kicks off on Friday (local time) at Arena Birmingham with the team final and individual qualification rounds.
Leading hope Tyson Bull, 29, is confident the Australians can claim their first team medal since gold in 2010.
“We’ve got a lot of big hitters on this team and we just need to put it all together and we can medal in almost every event, and if we’re making our finals, then we’re doing well for the team,” Bull told reporters.
“So putting together some individual performances helps all of us.
“England’s the powerhouse in the Commonwealth and so they’re gonna be pretty hard to beat in the team competition. But after England, I think it’s anyone’s game.
“So we’re putting our best foot forward, we’re straight in the mix.
“Really, anything can happen. Even the big hitters can have an off day and we might be able to sneak in there for a gold.”
Bull, Clay Stephens, James Bacueti and Jesse Moore are all debuting while Mitchell Morgans is attending his second Games.
Bull is aiming to kick on from finishing fifth in the high bar at the Tokyo Olympics, while Friday caps off 25-year-old Stephens’ remarkable tale of resilience.
Born without a right pec, the South Australian rose through the gymnastics ranks regardless before three anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) injuries almost derailed his career altogether.
“My first ACL, I tore right before the qualification for the last Games and since then I’ve had six knee surgeries, three of them ACLs, one MCL (medial collateral ligament),” Stephens said.
“… Just getting here was amazing but that’s not where my sights stop, I’m really looking for a medal for both the team as well as myself individually.”
Georgia Godwin, who claimed individual silver in the all-around and bronze in both the uneven bars and teams event in 2018, headlines the women’s team, which starts competition on Saturday.
Godwin is joined by 2018 dual bronze medallist Emily Whitehead and debutants Breanna Scott, Kate McDonald and Romi Brown.
The 24-year-old planned to draw on her Gold Coast experience to help her less experienced teammates thrive.
“We’ve really grown as a team over the last couple of weeks,” Godwin said.
“And going into competition with a game face on, going to do our best and hopefully we can make Australia proud, bring home a couple of medals.”