SOMETIMES sport at the highest level can be as cruel as it is kind, and in those situations the journey is as important as the result.
This was the case for Deborah Greenbaum, whose road to representing Australia at last week’s Aerobic Gymnastics World Championships in Portugal was marked with obstacles she found a way to overcome.
The 20-year-old Senior Australian Aerobic Gymnast of the Year – ranked number 11 in the world at the start of this year – missed the first round of World Cup selection trials a few months ago due to an ankle injury.
But she recovered in time to deliver a brilliant performance in the final trial to gain selection as one of only two Australians in the senior individual competition, and also as part of the first Australian trio team to qualify in 12 years.
A torn abductor muscle then robbed Greenbaum of the opportunity to compete in April and May at the Suzuki World Cup in Tokyo and the Australian Championships.
After loads of rehab, the University of Sydney student and PLC Gymnastics Centre member recommenced training and began her World Championships campaign on June 1 feeling strong.
Australia finished 21st in the trio competition with a lively routine, but a fall early in her otherwise error-free individual routine saw Greenbaum receive a one-point penalty, which saw her final placing drop from 10th to 29th.
Although disappointed, Greenbaum looked at the bigger picture.
“It just wasn’t my time this year at Worlds, but wait – it is coming,” she said.
Greenbaum will now take a short break from training and studies while she serves as an aerobic gymnastics competition judge at the upcoming US World Cup and South American Championships.