AWARDED: Rockhampton Baton Twirlers receiving 5th place on the finalist podium.
AWARDED: Rockhampton Baton Twirlers receiving 5th place on the finalist podium. Contributed.

Local Baton Twirlers take on the world stage

THE ROCKHAMPTON baton twirlers have had a very busy and successful start to the year.

Six Rockhampton baton twirlers competed at the 2017 Pan Pacific Cup in Stockton California in January.

They also had two athletes from Mackay join the team to compete in the team division, taking out 5th place and making the finals.

The girls competed in individual and pairs events as well. The junior section was so large with over 120 entrants that they split it into two age divisions.

The individual events included Grace McDonald (solo and artistic twirl), Mia McDonald (artistic twirl), Roxy McDonald (pairs), Summer Irons (Pairs and 2 baton) and Macey Kammholz (2 baton and solo)

This year was the first time the World Baton Twirling Federation (WTBF) has held the Pan Pacific Cup and it has been over 10 years in the preparation.

The Pan Pacific Cup was an Open Competition and open to all baton twirlers from any part of the world. Competitors came from Japan, USA, Canada and Australia.

The Australian squad all came out at the opening ceremony as a squad with over 38 athletes from Australia. Baton twirling has been trying to get Olympic accreditation as the masters of this sport are as well trained and as fit as any other Olympic athlete.

The only difference is the sheer beauty of baton twirling. It can be compared to ice dancing and the rhythmic gymnastics.

Supporting this competition was an important milestone in baton twirling history in the world arena.

The girls from Rocky had 12 months of training to prepare for the event.

It became a lot more intense once the national championships were over and the two girls from Mackay were added into the team, travelling for regular training sessions.

The team was coached by Susan McDonald who also made up the 8th member in the team. The initial routine was constructed by Jean-Michel Ruelle, an international coach from France, at the national camp in January last year.

As the year progressed there was also input from Sydney coaches and mentors and just prior to leaving Chiho Honjo, a former world champion who now is employed professionally by Cirque Du Soleil, came to Australia and made a trip to Rocky for some last minute preparations.

It has been the most amazing experience and would not have been as successful without the support of the hardworking parents who tirelessly fundraised, among other things, to help achieve this goal.



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