Jefferis prepares to leap for gold at Olympic Games

GO FOR GOLD: Gymnast Josh Jefferis will be heading to London next month to compete in the Olympic Games.
GO FOR GOLD: Gymnast Josh Jefferis will be heading to London next month to compete in the Olympic Games.

WHEN Joshua Jefferis is faced with a hurdle, he doesn't jump over it - he sprints towards it, does a hand spring, somersaults over it and lands perfectly.

The 26-year-old fulfilled a life-long dream this month when he was chosen as the only Australian male gymnast in the London Olympics.

Hailing from Westlake and a member of Y-West Gymnastics at Jamboree Heights, Jefferis said his selection was the greatest honour of his life.

But the parallel bars and rings specialist said the road to the Olympic Games had not been an easy one.

Jefferis battled a host of injuries which included surgery on his shoulder, elbow and forearm.

"It's been difficult at times, but your love of the sport overcomes all obstacles," Jefferis said.

"Each time I injured myself, I wanted to keep going as I knew I hadn't yet reached my full potential and could achieve more."

To make the team, Jefferis recently found himself in a head-to-head battle with fellow gymnast and former roommate Thomas Pichler.

After international competitions in the US and Canada failed to split the pair, it came down to last month's nationals.

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Jefferis, who has known Pichler since he was 13, said it had been hard putting his close friendship aside.

"But at the end of the day we both empathized with each other because we were both trying to achieve the same thing," he said.

With the Olympic Games less than a two months away, Jefferis said he was feeling equally excited and nervous about competing on the world stage.

"It's the most amazing opportunity and something I have been building towards for more than 17 years - definitely the pinnacle of my sporting career," he said.

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