World Champion Gymnast named Junior International Athlete of the Year 

Action at the World Age Championships.

Nicolas Diaz Ballas (Kellyville Ridge, NSW) has been named the ‘Gymnastics NSW Junior International Athlete of the Year’ at the organisation’s annual awards on Sunday night.

Nicolas and Brock Batty (Frankston, VIC) had recently won gold in the Men’s 15-16 Years Synchro Trampoline at the 2023 Trampoline World Age Group Championships, which were held in Birmingham, UK over 16th-18th November, 2023.

This was the third time the duo had represented Australia at the World Age Championships and after failing to medal on the two previous occasions (in Japan in 2019 and Bulgaria in 2022), they declared ‘3 times a charm’ and went on to claim the gold medal.

Gymnastics NSW Junior International Athlete of the Year.

Synchronised Trampoline consists of two gymnasts, on two separate trampolines, performing the exact same routine of 10 skills at the same time. Each gymnast is judged on execution, time of flight (how long they are in the air), degree of difficulty, horizontal displacement (where on the trampoline they land after each skill, with landing on the cross in the centre having nil deductions) and on how synchronised they are (landing and jumping at the exact time, with deductions given each time they don’t bounce in exact timing).

The circumstances surrounding their win make enthralling reading, as the two young men live in different states and only train together 2-3 days prior to an event.

At the World Age Championships, their qualifying routine was below their best but they scraped into the Final, claiming the 8th and final position.

A spectacular routine would elevate them into the lead and their score would prove decisive, with the duo holding off all competitors to claim the gold medal.

The medallists at the World Age Championships (Nicolas 3rd from left).

Nicolas had previously won the 2023 CHS Sporting Blue, at both the Sydney West Sporting Blue Awards and the NSW CHSSA State Blues Awards, the latter being the highest sporting award that can be won through the school system.

SGAC (based in Blacktown LGA) won ‘Overall Club of the year’, ‘Trampoline International Coaching Team of the Year’ and ‘Trampoline Gymnastics Club of the year’ awards on Sunday night.

“Jessie Tulett was Nicolas’ first-ever trampoline coach, when he was 5, then he had several different coaches until he was about 10, when he was put back with Jessie,” said Argyro Ballas, mother of Nicolas.

“She (Jessie) is amazing and has coached Nicolas ever since. She currently shares coaching duties with a new awesome coach who has come from the UK, Tom Holman, who has a history of British medal winners under his belt. The head coach of the trampoline program at SGAC is Belinda Cox.

CHS Gold. Photos supplied by Argyro Ballas

“If there are any businesses out there keen to sponsor any of the trampoline gymnasts in the High Performance program at SGAC, including Nicolas, who is also a State and National Squad member, that will be great, as the sport, for us, is totally self-funded.

“We even have to pay for their Australian uniforms when they compete for Australia, so I’d appreciate a call out to potential sponsors.”