NSW acrobatic gymnasts thrill at World Championships

Congratulations to all our acrobatic gymnasts for their dazzling performances at the 28th FIG World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan!

After COVID resulted in no Aussie teams competing at the 2020 World Championships, it has been wonderful to watch our acrobatic gymnasts again on the international stage.

Image: Maddi Lacey, Caitlin O'Neil and Holly Raval smile following competition. 

Oak Flats Albion Park Gymnastics and Acrobatics trio Holly Raval, Maddison Lacey and Caitlin O’Neil debuted their trio at World Championships after less than a year as a group. An impressive balance routine pushed the girls into finals contention and secured a place in Friday night’s combined final.

In international acrobatics, teams compete a Balance and Dynamic preliminary routine, with the highest combined scores from the two routines determining qualification combined finals. A solid combined performance saw the trio finish with a 26.24 score – and securing 7th position.

The Oak Flats trio continued their finals fight on Saturday night, with a small error in a balance earning a 0.3 penalty and moving Australia to 4th position behind Austria.

Image: Shelby Lacey reads the FIG Coach Oath 

Reflecting on her social media feed following the event Maddi Lacey (@Maddi_lacey) said:
“I’ll look back and be so extremely proud of the trio from the Oak Flats cow shed who overcame an abundance of hardships to get to a World Championships and came 4th in the World.”


The honours continued for the Oak Flats team, with coach Shelby Lacey asked to read the athlete’s oath at the opening ceremony.

Image: Emily Cuddy, Isabelle Tarrant and Erin Brooks

For the trio of Gladesville, arriving at the competition was already the icing on the cake. After tragically losing teammate Millie Hulst to injury just six short weeks ago, AcroGym Australia’s Erin Brooks stepped out of retirement to join Emily Cuddy and Isabelle Tarrant on the world stage.

“(The lead up was) a bit hectic – but I’m so glad I could step in to help the girls achieve their goals,” said Erin ahead of the competition.


The team dazzled in their Dynamic, qualifying for Sunday’s finals and finishing with 27.72 – just 0.5 from the podium. With the second-highest execution in the competition, the trio showed the world what Australia is made of.

FIG Brevet Judge Sarah Thomas (@acrotrio) stated on social media:
“After seeing so much acro it takes a lot to catch my attention and that routine was the whole package!”

Image: Alexandra McWhirter and Anna Tran-Dinh

Gladesville’s Alexandra McWhirter and Anna Tran-Dinh wowed the crowds in the pair competition and secured places in two finals – Dynamic and Combined – finishing in 4th and 7th position, respectively.

Gladesville coach Agi Sagjal says it felt surreal for the Australian contingency to travel again and compete on the world stage.

“It felt like it wasn’t happening. The airport was quiet, the feeling was surreal, but when we arrived in Baku, it was the best feeling ever to see our acro families from around the world,” she said.

“Everyone was very welcoming and happy for us to be here. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this event.”

Congratulations acrobats on an impressive World Championship campaign. We are all so proud of you!