From Sydney Hills Gymnastics to Stuttgart: Australian Gymnasts lifted by team spirit on the global stage

In Stuttgart, Germany, the Porsche Arena buzzed with energy as gymnasts from across the globe gathered for the 2024 EnBW DTB Pokal Team Challenge Cup.

Ritam Malik, Daniel Chalabov, and Coach Vassili Trofimov from Sydney Hills Gymnastics were ready to show their talent while proudly representing Australia.

The Team Challenge took place on the 15th of March 2024. Ritam and Daniel, joined by teammates Tru Hagens from New South Wales and Caedan McIlhatton from Queensland, formed the Australian Junior Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Team.

For 16-year-old Daniel, stepping into the arena to the roaring crowd was an unforgettable moment. He described the cheers as “loud and encouraging”.

Despite the difficulty of travel logistics, Daniel said “planning and gradual adjustments ensured I delivered all six routines”. Proof of his focus is in the weeks leading up to the competition.

Of his standout performances, Daniel expressed great pride in his vault and parallel bars routines. He said, “I executed both of these to the best of my abilities, even with prior injuries affecting my preparation.”

Daniel showed great team spirit during the event and credited his unwavering positivity to the support of his Australian teammates.

“The teams were supportive throughout the entire trip between juniors and seniors, allowing us to maintain a good mentality, which provided good results”, he said.

Meanwhile, Ritam took the chance to show his progress in working under pressure this year. In the week leading up to the event, he concentrated on staying calm and trusting his training, avoiding stress and overtraining.

Using this focus throughout the Team Challenge Cup, Ritam earned himself a spot in the pommel horse apparatus finals, qualifying in 2nd place. In the finals, 16-year-old Ritam performed his pommel horse routine, scoring 13.733to win the gold medal and Pommel Horse Champion title!

“I felt relief and was so appreciative of family, friends and the whole Sydney Hills Gymnastics community for all their support, he said.

Team spirit played a vital role in the Australian Junior Team’s success in finishing in 5th place. Ritam said, “Our goal of being the loudest team there and focusing on competing for the team result instead of personal finals changed the dynamic of the team in the

Team Coach Vassili Trofimov said he felt proud and privileged to be part of the experience. He said, “It was an amazing trip to share with the Australian Gymnastics Team. The boys demonstrated courage and tough character, all contributing to the team’s success.”

Vassili added that supporting each other and working for the team score was the real value of the competition experience.

“Each gymnast maximised their performance and stepped up if another teammate made an error. Working together meant they achieved the best 3 possible scores, helping Australia to finish in 5th place overall.”


Written by Alison Langdon from Sydney Hills Gymnastics

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