Click here to submit your sports results for The Canberra Times

2016 Rio Olympic Games: Australia's gymnasts hit qualifiers without Mitchell, Monckton

The Australian women's gymnastics team will be without two of their most experienced competitors, but coach Peggy Liddick insists they can still qualify for the Rio Olympic Games.

Lauren Mitchell has not recovered from a knee reconstruction in time for next month's Olympic test event in Brazil, but is on track for the Games if Australia can qualify.

The news is not as good for Mary-Anne Monckton, with the Victorian's Olympic dream over after sustaining a torn ACL at the team's training camp at the AIS last weekend.

In their absence, Larrissa Miller (Victoria) and Georgia-Rose Brown (Victoria) lead a team also featuring Emily Little (Western Australia), Rianna Mizzen (Queensland), Emma Jane Nedov (NSW) and Emily Whitehead (Victoria).

Mitchell is Australia's most accomplished female gymnast and was the 2010 world champion on the floor, but tore her ACL in June last year.

Liddick said the 24-year-old West Australian looked good during the team's 10-day camp in Canberra, but was still a month away from returning to competition.


"If we had another four or five weeks, she might have snuck her way on the team," Liddick said. "She looked really good in the trial and came knowing she wasn't going to get selected. She surprised me on her level of progress.

"Our Olympic trials are in May at our national championships, so it's a clean slate when we get back from Rio."

Miller is aiming for her second Olympics, and will take on a greater leadership role with Mitchell and Monckton sidelined.

"We take the experience I have and show the new girls what's required and how to handle the pressure," Miller said. "It's definitely different without Lauren, but I feel she's with us on every trip we've been on, because she taught me and now I'm teaching the younger girls.

"Since being at this trial they've handled themselves really well."

Australia are in danger of missing their first Olympic Games in the women's team event since 1988, after finishing a disappointing 14th at last year's world championships in Glasgow.

They need to finish in the top four at the test event against Brazil, France, Belgium, Germany, Romania, South Korea and Switzerland to qualify.

"It was definitely disappointing [in Glasgow]. We had some key injuries going in and we had to take an inexperienced team and didn't quite get the job done," Liddick said. 

"It's a much more resilient and strong team than last year. It's definitely a different position than having the advantage of having qualification out of the way and focusing on routines, but it hasn't changed how we prepare."

Monckton's Olympic dreams ended after falling from the bars during training last weekend.

"I'm shocked and saddened I won't be able to help our team qualify for the Olympic Games, because that's our main goal," Monckton said.  

"This was the most proud and excited I have been to represent my country. However, I am proud of what I have achieved and can look forward to coming back stronger than before for the 2017 world championships."