2023 Australian Pole & Aerial Championships in Penrith

James Wah Day and all of the competitors with the judges.  Photos courtesy of Coco Film & Photography

THE 2023 Australian Pole and Aerial Championships were held at the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre (PVRSC), Cambridge Park on 8th-9th July.

The event was open to both male and female categories, from ages 6 to 60+ years, with a para-pole sports division for people with disabilities.

The 2023 Australian Pole and Aerial Championships consists of multiple competitions, including: Pole Sports, Aerial Hoop Sports, Para Pole, Artistic Pole, Artistic Aerial Hoop and Ultra Pole.

The Championships was the only avenue for Australian pole athletes to win the opportunity to represent Australia at the World Pole and Aerial Championships later this year, which are being held in Poland in October.

Coordinator Deb Roach said “The 2023 Australian Pole and Aerial Championships, powered by Penrith City Council, was simply amazing. Thirty-one athletes from all over Australia (NSW, QLD, VIC, ACT, WA) – and 1 from NZ – made it to ‘pole position’. Of the competitors, 6 were aerial hoop athletes.

“Our youngest athlete was 13 year old Chloe Douglass, a novice hoop competitor from Newcastle, and our oldest athlete was 72 year old Richard Glynn Owens from Auckland, who has qualified to represent New Zealand in the 2023 World Pole and Aerial Championships in Poland this October.

“52-year old James Wah Day set a new World Record on Sunday in the Artistic Pole, Professional Masters 40+ Men’s division, with a fantastic score of 71.67.

“This placed him among the 10 Australian Athletes who qualified on Sunday for the Worlds. This is more than double the number of athletes to have qualified in the 4 years Australia has had a national pole sports competition.

“Other highlights of the day included world qualifying routines by 62-year old Shirley Van Sanden from Western Australia, and an unforgettable doubles performance by Amy Davidson and Jude Perret from Cairns.

“These two women were the original founders of the Australian Pole Sports Federation five years ago and both are incredibly talented athletes. Their score yesterday is the closest anyone has ever come to Russian duo Polina Volchek and Dmitrii Politov (https://youtu.be/A17yJ4V2T9k).

“We are incredibly grateful to Penrith City Council, The Pole Physio, Community Bank North Richmond and Richmond, and Universal Fitness Parramatta for their generous support. We thank all of our sponsors and recognise the tremendous efforts of the volunteers from Stargazer Pole Studio Blacktown, who lost a lot of skin cleaning poles over 4m high all day.

“Thanks to our judges for their hard work. They undergo rigorous training in the only scoring system in our sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

“The Australian Pole Sports Federation is a drastically under-funded not for profit organisation and we chose to move our event from Cairns to Penrith to promote the growth of our sport, for a better future. This did see us almost double our participation, but it has been particularly challenging to get here. We had always been supported by the Queensland Gambling Fund and were incredibly disappointed to be unsuccessful in securing one single club grant from NSW. In fact, two of our applications remain unprocessed. We need – and deserve – more support for our sport but are determined to come back bigger and better in 2024.

“The Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre was the perfect venue and we’re eager to return next year! We hope to see you there.”