Australian Masters Games

Gymnastics Generations

Alexandra Davidson - 6 October 2013

Gymnastics Generations

Mother and daughter, Pam and Joanne Mikl were planning to be each other’s coaches and competitors at the 14th Australian Masters Games in Geelong but it only ended up being half of the equation.

Pam competed in the first Masters Games in 1987, and has tried to participate in every one since. Growing up with a mum dedicated to the sport meant it was natural for Joanne to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

“We coach one another - it is the easiest thing to do. We can train at the same time and we car pool!” Joanne said.

They both enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Games, and the psychological motivations it can bring.

“It’s about fun and fitness. I don’t want to feel unfit”, Pam said.

“Sport can be all about the kids. The Games supports the adults so they can feel valued. It’s about getting older people to still compete in their sport”, Joanne said.

“Having a Masters Games means giving people a bit of pride, feeling respected for what they can do. Being able to compete with people of mature age and people in your own league can make you feel appreciated. Having everyone together is nice. You can see other people competing in other sports like netball or hockey.”

Unfortunately for Pam, she was unable to compete after injuring herself at the last training session, and could only coach and cheer her daughter from the sidelines on crutches – quite successfully it would seem with Joanne taking out not only the all-around crown but individual golds in the beam, floor and mini-tramp disciplines.

But the mother and daughter team are already thinking about the next Games in two years’ time. At 29 years of age, Joanne will be old enough to compete in other sports besides gymnastics, something she sees as an exciting prospect. With such a variety of sports on offer, there will undoubtedly be a few that will appeal.

The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.


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