When Haylee Wellard tumbles at the state championships this weekend she will compete as though it’s her last event.
Because it might be.
The 19-year-old is a six-time national tumbling champion in her age group and is confident she’ll “do alright” this weekend, but she admits the fire to compete doesn’t burn as strong as it once did.
Wellard began tumbling, which she described as “lots of flips in line”, as a 10-year-old after getting lessons for Christmas. Her natural ability at contorting her body through the air yielded her latest national title in Sydney in May.
It was an impressive return from an eight-month injury lay-off when she “wrecked” her knee or, more scientifically, ruptured her posterior cruciate ligament.
“I think it just comes naturally to me,” Wellard modestly said.
But when asked why she is uncertain about how much longer she will stay in the sport, it’s not because it’s getting any more difficult.
“A lot of my friends have stopped. I’ve been doing it for a long time,” she said.
Wellard trains at Palmer’s Gym in Mundy Street, where she practices her routines which involve cartwheels, aerials and a “big” move to finish.
Tumbling is practiced along a 25m spring track, with moves including the Barani and Rudi, which are forward twisting somersaults. Though Wellard is contemplating her future in the sport, she hasn’t given it away yet.
She hopes to compete at the Indo Pacific Trampoline and Tumbling Championships in Sydney in October which is “kind of a step down from worlds” and hasn’t ruled out an attempt at making the world titles.
“Maybe, if I continue on next year,” she said.