Year 12 student, Amelia Boyle, completed a family sporting circle when she started tumbling at Bendigo’s Palmer’s Gym at the age of seven. Her mum, Naomi, had been a Palmer’s athlete as a young girl and wanted Amelia to have the same opportunities for fun and fitness that she’d enjoyed.

“I’ve loved it ever since,” Amelia says. “It’s why I’m still there today, training and competing for Palmer’s.”

Amelia also loves the sport for the opportunity to coach younger athletes coming through the ranks, just as she did.

“It’s great to give back and help develop their skills and knowledge of the sport,” she says.

Sadly, the global pandemic has had a huge impact on the sport in 2020 with the cancellation of major competitions and restrictions around how athletes can train. During lockdown, Amelia has had to manage her fitness through home training programs, and strength-based workouts via zoom.

She misses the motivation of training with her best friends and interacting face to face with her coach.

“It’s hard trying to train effectively with what I have at home,” she says. “I don’t have anything in the way of equipment expect for a couple of mats. There just isn’t the amount of space at home to replicate how I would train at the gym.”

The biggest disappointment, however, has been the lack of competition. This year would have seen Amelia return to the biggest competitions in the country.

“The Australian Championships in Melbourne and the Victorian Championships in Geelong were both cancelled, along with National Clubs Carnival on the Gold Coast,” she says. “It’s especially disappointing as I was unable to qualify for the Australian Gymnastics Championships in 2019 because of reoccurring knee problems due to a torn meniscus in early 2018.

“Luckily, in 2019, I was able to represent Palmer’s at the National Clubs Carnival, making my statement on another apparatus other than tumbling.”

Of course, 2020 is about much more than sport. Like thousands of other Year 12s around the state, Amelia has had to deal with many weeks of remote learning in the lead up to VCE exams.

“I’m someone who really enjoys being in the classroom with my friends and the support of my teachers,” she says. “It’s been really hard to stay motivated, and particularly challenging to complete classes with practical components.

“One unexpected benefit has been that I can keep up with my work because I have more ‘out of class time’ due to the changes in training hours each week.”

Amelia plans to remain in Bendigo in 2021 and study Nursing, Paramedicine or Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University, depending on her final results.

She also plans to compete in gymnastics as long as she possibly can.

“This year I’m working towards the 2021 Australian Gymnastics Championships and the National Club’s Carnival, both being held on the Gold Coast,” Amelia says.