Gymnastics champ a rising AFL star

Keagen Ryan for the Sunshine Coast Daily Junior Sport

EMMA Palethorpe excels in an unlikely combination of sports: she is a state champion in gymnastics and a rising star in AFL. 

The odd pairing of sports may not traditionally go hand in hand, but Emma relishes the diversity.

While gymnastics appears gracious and elegant, Emma enjoys the rough and tumble too, with ‘getting muddy’ her favourite quality of AFL. 

The Chevallum State School student trains prolifically at the Sunshine Coast Gymnastics Academy and also plays AFL for the Nambour & Hinterland Football Club.

Emma, 13, has done gymnastics since she was aged four, and in June won the level four open division floor routine at the state championships and finished the championships third overall. 

The multi-talented Emma has also been recognised for her AFL ability. 

After beginning the AFL’s Auskick program at age five, Emma has graduated to the Under-15 Nambour Blues Youth Girls team 

Last year Emma’s performances were rewarded with selection in the Sunshine Coast Sunfire Academy.

The academy is the AFL’s pathway to Women’s Football, helping girls’ further develop their skills. 

When the opportunity arises, Emma also plays with the boys in the Under-12 Division One competition on the Sunshine Coast.

However, it does not stop there for Emma, she also stars in athletics, having represented her school in cross country, high jump, discus, shot put and long jump. 

Emma’s conceded her busy schedule may be hard to maintain next year.

“I am in Year 7 at the moment, so next year when I go to high school it will be hard to fit it all in,” she said. 

Emma said her training regime was jam packed.

“I do gym training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4pm until 7.30pm and also Saturday mornings,” she said. 

Emma said she hoped to pursue a career that harnessed her passion for sport.

“Something with young children, maybe teaching them gymnastics or another sport…or a PE teacher,” she said.

Written by Keagan Ryan for The Sunshine Coast Daily Junior Sport

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