The West

Olympic dream over for local gymnasts
Emily Little is favioured to make the team for London. Pic: John Mokrzycki/WA News

The Olympic dreams and aspirations of two young WAIS gymnasts are in tatters after being told they will not be invited to final selection trials in Canberra next week alongside London frontrunners Lauren Mitchell, Emily Little and Olivia Vivian.

Nikki Chung and Georgia Simpson missed the first trials in Sydney with injury - Chung forced out during warm-up when she landed awkwardly rupturing her ACL.

National coach Peggy Liddick now faces the difficult task of culling the squad even further, from 12 to just five gymnasts, who have the greatest potential to improve on Australia's previous best of sixth at the Beijing Games four years ago.

Mitchell, a former world champion on the floor, just has to get through trials in one piece to guarantee herself a spot on the team, which is also likely to include all-around specialists Little and national champion Ashleigh Brennan.

However, the remaining two spots are wide open as Liddick tries to build a team around Mitchell who has been forced to drop the bars from her program because of an ongoing shoulder injury.

The former Olympic gold medal-winning coach said everyone would be under the microscope next week because she would like to see consistency and solid training habits.

"We are not focusing on an Olympic medal for Lauren because she has to get through qualifying before she can start thinking of that," Liddick said. "It is a cattle call when you get to the Games with 250 gymnasts vying for eight spots in each apparatus final."

She said neither Little nor Brennan had individual apparatus that ranked them in the top five in the world as Mitchell does on the beam and floor.

"But they are solid across all four apparatus and have shown themselves to be reliable performers in the past," Liddick said.

Vivian has been the big surprise coming back from four years at college in the US to win on the bars in Sydney a week ago.

Liddick said she had accrued a wealth of experience in the US,competing on a weekly basis.

Liddick said Chung was extremely unfortunate to get injured during trials but she would have another Olympic campaign or two ahead of her alongside Simpson who was injured while touring with the Australian team in March.

The final team will be named on June 18.

The West Australian

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