New twist for Bega Valley gymnasts

ACROBATS and gymnasts are twirling and tumbling their way forward at the recently formed Sapphire Coast Academy.

• Former Australian gymnastics representative Alison Czolij stops for a quick photo (right), while junior coach Larissa Larkham keeps the youngsters moving with some warm ups.

• Former Australian gymnastics representative Alison Czolij stops for a quick photo (right), while junior coach Larissa Larkham keeps the youngsters moving with some warm ups.

Former Australian gymnastics representative and current Fling dance company gymnastics director Alison Czolij  launched her own club to share her skills with juniors and competitors alike. 

Parents watching a class said their kids had already been developing news skills under the tutelage of the Sydney-born Czolij. 

Czolij credits her ability to learning from a young age. 

“I started gymnastcs in primary school and in kindergarten the gymnastics teacher  [Don Bollard] pulled my mother aside and told her to send me to gymnastics school [when I was six],” Czolij said. 

After taking on classes at her local gym, Czolij later found herself enrolled in Bollard’s gymnastics school where she got her first chance to compete internationally. 

“I went overseas twice to represent Australia.

“The first time was going to the World Championships in France in 2004 for the World Acrobatics championships.

“And the second time when I was 21 to go to the international gymnastics boarding school in Denmark.”

She now lives in Pambula after moving to the area a few years ago. 

Czolij said she enjoys continuing her work with Fling, but was delighted to launch her own academy where she can help gymnasts become competitive. 

“I’m still doing things with Fling, I run the gymnastics program there and we’re hoping to extend that to Saturday’s as well.

“On the other days, I am running my own classes with the goal of having some of the gymnasts go to competitions,” she said. 

 Czolij said her passion was acrobatics and was delighted to share it with Far South Coast locals. 

“[Other places] focus on gymnastics. 

“I am an acrobat, that’s where I went to the world championships, that’s my passion ... and my history.

“I have some acrobats that want to compete so theres the Fling side – and my competitive side through my own company,” she said. 

Czolij said she was working a handful of “odd jobs”, but they helped prepare her to start her own business, a role she said she “fell into”.

“I had some gymnasts that desperately wanted to compete, so I created this club in order to compete so they can represent our area,” she said. 

The small group of dedicated gymnasts quickly became a catalyst to launching a full-scale academy after Czolij opened up classes for juniors. 

“From that, I’ve developed these junior classes that are thriving. 

“It’s incredible to see, I didn’t expect it at all. 

“I’ve got three competing acrobats and now I’ve got 10 that are interested. 

“It just happened overnight,” she said. 

The existing classes Czolij runs are practically full, but is now hoping to launch new classes based on the overwhelming success of the academy’s launch. 

“My classes are quite full, but I’m looking at putting more on, 

“I wasn’t sure how it would take off and it’s doing so well that I will be leading extra classes on my days here,” she said. 

Czolij has been ecstatic with the response she has got from the community and hopes to continue teaching for the forseeable future. 

“[Teaching is] what I want to do for the rest of my life, I’d be happy to do that.

“If ever I could make it my one job, that’s what I would do.

 “This is my passion and I hope to keep doing it and expanding on it,” she said. 

Czolij runs classes out of Wolumla Hall on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while Fridays she operates out of the Eden High School’s Gymnasium. 

The academy is taking new registrations as it prepares to launch more classes. 

You can contact the academy on 0421 867 445 or by e-mail sapphirecoastacademy 

For more information visit the academy’s website at www.sapphirecoastacademy .com.


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