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A perfect landing for 3 Special Olympic gymnasts

Published: 4 August 2023

Nothing can stop these Victorians from participating in something they love – gymnastics.

Gymnast training

Francesca Neri had always wanted to do a cartwheel from a young age. Having cerebral palsy, a condition that impacts body movement, wasn’t a consideration for her.

‘I saw these gymnasts doing cartwheels on TV and it made me excited to do the same, but mum was hesitant at first,’ Francesca said.

Francesca has restricted movement in her left side and there was concern she would get injured.

However, to help her achieve her ambition, Francesca began training at Melbourne Gymnastics Centre (MGC) in Windsor, which she’s now been doing for 9 years. And through that, she’s spent 2 years actively participating in the Special Olympics program, which is quite an accomplishment. But more than that, the positive outcomes of Francesca's commitment are not confined to the gymnasium alone as her mother has seen firsthand the transformative effects in her personal life.

Now she has enhanced strength, Francesca effortlessly carries more plates to the table and fulfills her volunteer duties at a childcare centre by comfortably lifting older babies.

Francesca's zest for life and increased confidence is undeniable, evident in her participation at various events throughout Melbourne. She’s active in her neighbourhood too, involved with diverse community groups.

Page last updated: 08 Jun 2024
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