Young gymnast shows Olympic potential

FOR a growing lad of just 158 centimetres, Yi Heng Wang likes big challenges. He's got six of them: rings, pummel, power bars, vault, floor and high bar.

Wang will be part of the NSW artistic gymnastics team competing at the Australian Gymnastics Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre this week.

But then the 13-year-old was picked out as floorman material early on, virtually from the time he started at age six.

His mother Grace enrolled him in gymnastics and "I played around a bit", he said of just treating those early exercises as a muckabout.

His first coach Emile Koen wasn't mucking about when he spotted Wang at play at Castle Hill RSL gymnastic club. He spotted a potential gymnast with a capital G.

"He tested me and asked me to do some things," Wang said.

He passed the test and "I've liked it ever since," he said of gymnastics, its forms and discipline.

"It was a bit scary," he said of those early encounters with routines, but not now.

Now it's striving to get better under his coach of the past two years, Mohsen Mahali.

"He's good," the pupil said of the coach with an emphasis that said Mahali had received the seal of approval.

"I watch a lot of stuff on YouTube and an ambition would be to go to the Olympics, but then that's what everyone says."

Castle Hill RSL will have 25 representatives in NSW teams, and there's no saying what they might do.

Wang, Blair Steed, Zenik Abeywickrama and Ethan Princena-White are members of the men's artistic gymnastics team and Castle Hill will supply 25 per cent of the trampolining squad.

Matthew Weal, 18, and Leanne Van Rensburg, 17, will lead the way as state team captains.

Matthew Weal, Kira Ward, Dominic Clarke, Wesley Needham, Megan Adams, Imogen Florian and Joshua Bonello have already had a lot to say through their performances. They'll defend their national titles from 2012.

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