From Windale to London for Mary-Anne

MARY-Anne Monckton plans to take the last step on the long and winding road from Windale to London when she competes at Gymnastics Australia’s final Olympics selection trial this weekend.

Monckton, 17, is one of 12 girls battling it out at Canberra’s AIS Arena for the five positions at the London Games, which start in six weeks.

Born in Belmont, Monckton started gymnastics at the age of five at Windale’s Lake Macquarie PCYC.

Two years later her talent was identified by Gymnastics Australia’s elite-level coaches, who offered her a chance to join their high-performance program.

Trouble was, it was based in Canberra.

In a remarkable show of faith, Monckton’s family uprooted and based themselves in the national capital, where their daughter continued to flourish.

Eight years later, there was further upheaval when the AIS moved its national gymnastics base from Canberra to Melbourne.

This time Monckton moved on her own and admitted in a recent interview: ‘‘It was difficult leaving my mum and my sister, but I knew I had to do it to pursue my gymnastics career.’’

A nomadic lifestyle is the main sacrifice Monckton and her family have had to make, but she has conquered other adversity.

Horrendous injuries have also threatened to sabotage her goal.

In 2009, Monckton spent almost a year out of commission after having floating bones removed from each of her ankles.

A year later, just as she was preparing for the Delhi Commonwealth Games and world championships, she ruptured the ligament between her tibia and fibula during a training routine.

But Monckton’s profile on the Gymnastics Australia website suggests she is made of stern stuff.

She lists her favourite quote as: ‘‘You try, you fail, you try, you fail. But the only time you really fail is when you stop trying.’’

This weekend’s trials are not the sole selection criteria, and gymnasts will be assessed on lead-up results as well.

Monckton, who finished third on bars and beam at last year’s World Cup in Japan, is considered a strong chance of making the final cut if she performs to expectations in Canberra.

? Charlestown trampolinist Shaun Swadling has been named as Australia’s non-travelling reserve for the Olympics.

The 19-year-old, who finished 15th at the recent World Cup in China, will continue training in case Australian No.1 Blake Gaudry is injured.

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