QUEANBEYAN gymnast Ashleigh Granfield didn’t finish first at the third NSW State Trial earlier this year. She didn’t even finish in the placings. But the fact the 16-year-old simply finished her routine at all was in itself, a remarkable achievement.
Competing at the third and final trial for NSW selection in April, Granfield was well in contention for a spot the state squad before dislocating her shoulder midway through her first floor routine.
The result of an old snowboarding injury that has left the teenager with a badly damaged left shoulder socket, the dislocation left a distraught Granfield’s hopes of representing NSW at the Australian Championships in tatters.
“I was doing my second skill and my shoulder just completely popped out,” Granfield recalls. “I’d had the biggest smile on my face when I started [the routine] but as soon as my shoulder went, everything dropped.
“I could still use my shoulder but nothing was working for me. It was hard as well because I was crying from being in so much pain so I couldn’t actually see what was going on.
“I was a bit all over the place really.”
While Granfield courageously completed her routine, the injury later forced her to pull out of the trials and put out of the running for state selection.
Even worse for the Erindale College student, this year marks the second-straight time her nationals campaign has been derailed by the same injury.
“Two years ago I was snowboarding and I cracked my shoulder and tore my labrum which is the thing that holds your shoulder into the socket,” she says. “Technically I don’t actually have a shoulder socket any more.
“That was a while ago now and it won’t ever fully recover but the doctors have said if I do the rehab they give me and keep strengthening it, I should be right to continue.”
After an extensive period of rehabilitation, Granfield took to the floor competitively for the first time in nearly three months last week at the NSW Country Championships in Orange.
Granfield was one of about 30 gymnasts from the Queanbeyan YMCA Rhythmic Gymnastics Club to compete at the event.
The championships will serve as Granfield’s first step back on the long road to next year’s nationals which after two injury-riddled campaigns will mark her final opportunity at selection.
“It’s hard to accept that next year could be my last chance at nationals so that definitely motivates me to keep going,” she says.
“At the end of my so called ‘career’ in gymnastics I want to say, ‘I’ve been to nationals and that I’ve competed at the highest level. “That’s always been in the back of my mind. That’s my goal and I’m going to do whatever I can to reach it.”