THE chance to compete on the international stage will motivate Warrnambool athletes at Australian aerobics championships this weekend.
A 41-strong team from Warrnambool academy EKB Fitness and Aerobics will compete at the three-day titles at Melbourne Sport and Aquatic Centre.
About half are in international-stream events — which carry the reward of world championships qualification for those who impress the judges.
Coach Emma Bellman said she was confident the academy would have athletes qualify for world titles in Prague from October 21 to 26.
Among the young hopefuls are teenager Jordan Rooke, in the junior male solo section, and Hayley Dalton, in the cadet female solo.
Sisters Emma and Sophie Bellman and Aylish Auchettl make up a senior female trio called Audacity.
The academy also has two eight-member teams — Fierce in senior fitness and Fusion in junior fitness — hoping to book their tickets to the Czech Republic.
“I definitely think next week we’ll have a story about athletes hopefully going to Prague,” Bellman said.
“I shouldn’t be too confident but I think we’re up with a really good chance. Training this week has been going so good.
“Everyone is pretty happy with their final trainings and are getting excited about being able to perform and qualify.”
Bellman said the academy also had strong representation in national-stream events.
The standard of competition is slightly lower but attracts more competitors. “We’ve got minis right up to seniors in the national stream as well, which will be just as tough. They’re huge sections.
“They only have a straight final (rather than a semi-final and final), so they’ve really got to go for it straight up.”
The team has made its way to Melbourne in the past few days.
International stream preliminaries and semi-finals are today and tomorrow, with finals on Sunday. National stream and hip hop finals are tomorrow.
Bellman said having the championships in Melbourne had eased the travel burden on families and would ensure strong support for Warrnambool competitors.
“I think it makes a huge difference when you’ve got that crowd support, the atmosphere is a lot better,” she said.
“Considering we’ve got lots going, hopefully we should be nice and loud.”