Great Britain's Kayleigh Cooke has joined the ranks of the WAIS, alongside Dasha Joura and Lauren Mitchell, as her family has left Britain for a big move to the West. But for the moment, she's stuck playing the waiting game...
Thanks to special agent Riss for the article heads-up:
WAIS has gained the services of another high calibre gymnast, with international Kayleigh Cooke migrating to Australia from Britain.
The 17 year old is waiting to hear how long it will take her to become eligible to represent Australia after travelling to Beijing as Olympic reserve of the British womens artistic team.
Cooke has competed for Britain in World Cup and European competition but has never represented her birth country at the Olympics and world championships, which would have held back her chances of representing Australia.
The Cooke family were granted Australian residence late last year but Kayleigh and her father remained in England to enable her to pursue her Olympic dream.
She spent some time with her mother in Perth in December, during which time she trained alongside Dasha Joura, Lauren Mitchell and Olivia Vivian at WAIS.
But with her Olympic campaign now out of the way the family have been reunited and she is ready to settle into a new routine training alongside her new WAIS teammates.
WAIS head of gymnastics Liz Chetkovich said Cooke ould be a great addition to the program.
"We beat Britain at the Olympics with our sixth place in the team competition, but they beat us at the last World Championships," Chetkovich said.
"Cooke's skills are on par with Joura on the floor and she is Australia's best on that apparatus, and is as strong as Mitchell with her vaulting."
Chetkovich said there was some chance Cooke might be available to represent Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 London Olympics, but that would depend on international eligibility rules and meeting citizenship criteria.
Australia's Olympic team of six included three West Australians- Joura, who was born in Russia, Mitchell and Vivian, an uneven bars specialist.
2010 Commonwealth Games will probably be really tough emotion-wise (not to mention Worlds next year, if she manages to get the ok to represent Australia, IN her former home country and competing AGAINST her former home country! And let's not forget the 2012 Olympics!) but I'm sure she has received a very enthusiastic welcome up in Perth regardless. Dasha, at the very least, can help her adjust to new surrounds because she knows what it's like!