Top gymnast Daria Joura, right, who will stay in Perth, with sister Natalia and parents Irina and Vladimir
Top gymnast Daria Joura, right, who will stay in Perth, with sister Natalia and parents Irina and Vladimir

Vladimir Joura, the Siberian coach behind the West Aust- ralian Institute of Sport's highly acclaimed junior gymnastics program and the father of Olympian Daria Joura, has accepted a leading role with the Queensland Academy of Sport.

The family will be separated for the first time since migrating to Australia 12 years ago. Daria will stay in Perth to pursue university studies and continue her rehabilitation from injury while Vladimir, his wife Irina and younger daughter Natalia will move to Brisbane.

Vladimir and Irina have played an integral role in developing the gymnastic talent of their two daughters. Daria was the country's highest-profile gymnast on the world stage until training partner Lauren Mitchell's recent world championship successes.

Daria, who has four national all-around titles and a swag of apparatus golds, has been recov-ering from ankle surgery and has not yet decided if she will extend her career once surgeons give her the go-ahead to resume training.

Natalia, a member of the national junior program, will continue training under her parents at the QAS, leaving behind a successful environment at WAIS.

Vladimir was responsible for developing some of WA's best gymnasts, including Mitchell and Olympian Olivia Vivian, before handing them over to senior WAIS coaches Nicolai Lapchine and Martine George.

He said the position in Brisbane was too good to refuse and gave him the opportunity to take on a senior rather than a development role.

He said his wife would work alongside him in a development capacity in trying to rebuild a program which has lost direction in recent years.

"The QAS has had an excellent reputation in the past but lost its way with a succession of new coaches," Vladimir said.

"The program has turned out Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth Games talent like Lisa Skinner, and the foundations are there to build on in the future.

"However, it won't happen overnight and it will take time."

WAIS head of gymnastics Liz Chetkovich said Vladimir's humour and rapport with the gymnasts made him a popular member of the staff.

"Obviously it will be tough for the family to be separated but Daria is at an age where she wants to take responsibility for herself while continuing her studies at the University of WA," she said.

Vladimir said it had been a tough decision for the family to leave Daria behind.

The West Australian

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