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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Fawcett-Smith

Ethan Munt Proves Injuries Needn't End a Sporting Career

Winning regional, state and national medals this year, 14-year-old local gymnast, Ethan Munt, is proof that injuries needn’t spell the end of a sporting career.

A member of Lawnton Academy of Artistic Gymnastics (LAAG), Ethan’s gymnastics career began at age four as a result of his tendency to scale tall objects.

“Ethan was a bit of a daredevil when he was younger,” explains his mum, Leona. “He used to climb the streetlights to the top and jump off like a monkey, so I thought, ‘I might need to teach this kid how to land’. And that was the idea behind gymnastics.”

Selected at age 10 to join LAAG’s ‘Team Gold’, Ethan started training 16 hours per week under the guidance of coach, Michael Donnet, who represented Australia at the 2007 London Men's Open Championships. The next year, Ethan got his first taste of national title success; winning gold in the Level 7 Under 12 Boys Queensland team at the 2015 Australian Gymnastics Championships.

Two lumbar stress fractures, each requiring an immediate six weeks off and another eight to ten weeks of rehabilitation, saw Ethan miss state and national competition for the next two years.

“Ethan was first diagnosed with a back fracture in early 2016 which nearly put him out for the whole of that year,” explains his dad, Lee. “Then after competing at regionals in 2017, he was diagnosed with another back fracture, so he didn’t get to compete at the 2017 state championships.

“Other kids who have had those types of injuries have given gymnastics away altogether, so to see him representing Queensland again this year, I’m extremely proud.”

Michael Donnet agrees, adding, “Ethan coming back from several serious injuries is a credit to his dedication and love for the sport.”

Ethan’s comeback began at the SEQ Senior Regional Championships in March, where he was crowned Level 7 Open Individual All-Round Champion after placing second on floor, pommel, rings and vault.

“I fell on the high bar, and I thought that could cost me regional champion, so I really focused on my last apparatus, floor,” says Ethan. “At presentation when they announced the name of the boy I was really close to in points as second, I was like, ‘Yes!’”

At the MAG Senior State Championships in April, Ethan was titled Level 7 Open State Champion, placing first on pommel, vault, parallel bars and high bar.

“On high bar I tied first with Kaimana Barry [The Southport School] who’s eighteen years old,” says Ethan.

Winning the individual all-around title at the 2018 Australian Gymnastics Championships in May seemed the natural next step, however an ankle injury sustained the week prior meant that Ethan could only compete in four of the six apparatus, thereby dashing his individual national title hopes.

“It was very disappointing that after performing so well at regionals and states, Ethan was unable to compete on floor and vault,” says Leona.

“After nationals, my combined score over the two days at states is still the highest score in Australia for my level,” explains Ethan.

Ethan didn’t leave nationals empty-handed however; winning gold as a member of the Men’s Level 7 Open Queensland team. Team totals are calculated by adding the best three individual scores for each apparatus, and Ethan’s 12.033 pommel and 12.133 parallel bars scores counted towards Queensland’s convincing win.

“Ethan didn’t go to the nationals as a passenger,” says Lee. “His results contributed towards his team’s winning score.”

Discussing Ethan’s future, Michael says, “Ethan works hard and does exactly what I ask of him, and that’s why he has achieved some great results this year. He has great skill development for a level seven gymnast his age, and I look forward to guiding him to some more rewarding results.”


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