Rocky deputy mayor's first-hand account of son's milestone
Trampolinist Blake Rutherford, son of Rockhampton Regional Council's deputy mayor Cherie Rutherford, is preparing to compete at his first world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Cherie and her husband Michael have made the trip over to witness the incredible milestone. Here, Cherie gives an insight into the team's preparation and how she and Michael are feeling in the countdown to the competition start.
I'm currently sitting in the Arena Armec in Sofia, Bulgaria, watching the last podium training before the World Trampoline Gymnastics Championships get under way.
My son, Blake Rutherford, is a member of the Australian team and this is his first major international competition at senior level.
Michael and I have been in the grandstands watching as each country takes it turn on the podium. There is a spectacular array of talent on display and we can feel our nerves starting to stir.
Now it's Australia's turn to step out into the centre arena and we watch intently at Blake's body language to get a sense of his level of confidence and if he's feeling good or not.
He is walking tall and with purpose, keen to get on the equipment, a sigh of relief, that's a good sign.
He waits his turn to get on the trampoline and we watch as he supports his teammates. He's on the trampoline now and we gauge the height he's jumping by lining his feet up against the grandstand seating at the other side of the arena.
Yep, he's working high and looks stable, great. His podium training lasts 30 minutes and he completes both his routines and practises some synchronised trampoline with his partner, Jack Penny from Tasmania.
Michael and I look at each other and exchange a look that is filled with so many emotions; relief, pride and excitement.
As a coach, I know his preparation has been good and he certainly doesn't look out of place on the world stage. As an ex-athlete I know nerves will play a very big role in how he competes tomorrow and this event will be the biggest of his career so far.
As a parent, I'm immensely proud of him and the dedication and commitment he has shown to get this far. No matter how long we have been watching him compete there is still a sense of helplessness because we know from this point on he is on his own.
We have no expectations, he will not walk away from this competition as a world champion but tomorrow he will walk out into a packed arena dressed in green and gold, representing his country at the world championships and it doesn't get much better than that.
After two 20-second routines, the countless hours of preparation will all be over and we hope his nerves hold and he fulfils his dreams but most of all we hope he has an amazing experience.
Rockhampton's Jarrod Spear is also competing at the world championships, while fellow Victoria Park trampolinist Britney Glazebrook will compete in the world age group competition, also in Sofia, which starts on November 16.