HORSHAM’S Hudson Irwin will compete against the best junior gymnasts in the country at the 2014 Australian Gymnastics Championships on Thursday and Saturday.
Irwin was one of four boys selected in the Victorian under 12-14 boys team for the championships, which are at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena.
He will compete as a level eight under, which is one of the highest junior divisions in Australian gymnastics.
The championships run from Wednesday until June 1, but Irwin will only compete on two days.
It is a big step for Irwin, who missed out on competing at last year’s championships because of injury.
He said he was excited to face the best in the country on the big stage.
“This year the apparatuses are on raised podiums, which I’ve never competed on before so that will be a new experience,” he said.
“It will be different because it’s a bigger arena and it’s higher off the ground, and it probably gives you a more grand feeling.
“I’m not nervous at this stage, but I think I will be by then.”
Irwin said he was pleased to qualify for the championships injury-free this year.
Junior athletes at the championships compete in six apparatuses – parallel bars, pommel horse, rings, vault, floor and high bar.
Irwin said he had worked on each of them in preparation.
“I think on the day I’ll compete on floor the best, but I’m working on them all just as hard,” he said.
Irwin’s mother Leonie said Hudson would gain valuable experience at the championships.
“There is Commonwealth Games selection from the Australian championships, so there are some seniors who will hopefully qualify for the Commonwealth Games this year,” she said.
“You get to see the seniors in action and see the skills they’re performing.”
It has already been a big year for Irwin, who attended a four-day Australian Institute of Sport training camp in February.
Gymnastics Victoria Men’s High Performance Program manager and head coach Greg Corsiglia – who trains Irwin – said he was one of the top gymnastics prospects in the country before the camp.
Corsiglia said Irwin had the potential to compete in world championship and Olympic competition.