Gymnasts book Paris spots in cut-throat qualifiers

Murray Wenzel |

Jesse Moore will represent Australia in the men’s all-around at the Paris Olympic Games.
Jesse Moore will represent Australia in the men’s all-around at the Paris Olympic Games.

Jesse Moore has defied a couple of heart-in-mouth high-bar moments to clinch Australia’s hotly contested all-around men’s artistic gymnastics Olympic berth in Paris.

The recently crowned Australian champion backed up to win the Oceania Continental titles in Auckland, an event that doubled as a winner-takes-all Games qualifier.

The 21-year-old South Australian twice came off the high bars but blitzed the pommel and vault to score 80.322 across the six apparatus and edge out compatriots Clay Mason Stephens (second), 2023 national champion Heath Thorpe (third) and James Hardy (sixth).

“I can never do it the easy way, that’s for sure,” Moore said of his high-bar slip-ups.

“I am pretty speechless right now, I don’t really know what to think. This has been my dream since starting gymnastics.  

“I was really nervous. This is probably one of the biggest competitions of my life.”

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva and the rythmic gymnastics group of Emmanouela Frroku, Jess Weintraub, Lidiia Iakovleva, Phoebe Learmont and Saskia Broedelet also pencilled in their Games spots with Oceania Continental titles won in Hungary.

The championships were run in conjunction with the European titles, and Kiroi-Bogatyreva aced her hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon routines to win the all-around rhythmic title that carried automatic Games selection.

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva.
Rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva has booked her ticket to Paris. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

She won with a score of 120.700 to overcome fellow Australians Miyabi Akiya (116.950) and Isabella Wang (97.700). 

“I have been working towards this goal for four years now, and only my coaches, who have had my back, know how much training and hard work, and sleep deprivation and everything I have put into this,” Kiroi-Bogatyreva said.

The Queensland-based quintet sealed the deal with victory in Hungary and are set to become just the second Australian rhythmic gymnastics group to compete at an Olympic Games.

There will be at least 13 Australian gymnasts competing in Paris, an increase of two from the Tokyo Games three years ago.