Team Australia success in Abu Dhabi at the Special Olympic World Games



The Special Olympics World Games was held in Abu Dhabi from 8-21 March 2019.

The athletes selected to represent Australia in Gymnastics were selected last year in South Australia at the Special Olympic National Games. The gymnastics team consisted of Chelsea Palmer (NSW), Ellen Maher (NSW), Imogen Campbell (NSW), Sinead Brennan (QLD), Martin Smith (QLD) and Patrick Forssman (VIC).

“The 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi was one of the largest, most inclusive, most unified, most diverse and most successful World Games in the history of Special Olympics.

“For the next few weeks, we’ll be celebrating our team’s achievements with our local clubs around the country, before getting back to our mission of providing weekly, community-based, sporting and movement opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities,” Special Olympics CEO, Corene Strauss said after the event.

In the Special Olympics, there are four levels and the final scores are out of twenty points. Team Australia did an amazing job across the Artistic Gymnastic competition with each of our athletes finding themselves on the podium.

The Team Australia gymnastics coach, Natalie Johnston, could not speak more highly of the six athletes.

“We had an amazing two-and-a-half weeks in Abu Dhabi. They have all come such a long way since being selected at Nationals last year.

“We are just so pleased with all of them. We had to just jump straight into competition once we arrived and each athlete exceeded their own personal bests.

“They all surpassed their expectations of themselves and obviously the main focus was the competition but all the medals were just icing on top of the cake,” Johnston said.

Queensland’s Martin Smith was the only one out of the six athletes who had attended previously, so for most, it was a brand new experience. Once the World Games came to a close, Johnston spoke about how all the emotions came flooding through.

“They really rose to the occasion and the emotions were rolling through all the athletes and it was just wonderful to be a part of.

“They all just really shined through the sport and the atmosphere there was just electric,” Johnston said.

Gymnastics Australia couldn’t be prouder of all the competitors and we would like to congratulate them all on what they went on to achieve at the Special Olympic World Games this year. 

Gymnastics Full Medal Tally

Martin Smith – Men’s Level 2
All Around - 1st
Floor - 2nd
Pommel Horse - 1st
Rings - 2nd
Vault - 3rd
Parallel Bars - 1st
Horizontal Bar - 1st

Patrick Forssman – Men’s Level 2
All Around - 2nd
Floor- 3rd
Pommel Horse - 1st
Rings - 3rd
Vault - 1st
Parallel bars - 2nd
Horizontal bar - 2nd

Ellen Maher – Women’s Level 3
Overall - 1st
Floor - 1st
Beam - 1st
Bars - 3rd
Vault - 4th

Sinead Brennan – Women’s Level 3
Overall - 2nd
Floor - 3rd
Beam - 1st
Bars - 1st
Vault - 5th

Chelsea Palmer – Women’s Level 2
Overall - 2nd
Floor - 2nd
Beam - 2nd
Bars - 3rd
Vault - 3rd

Imogen Campbell – Women’s Level 1
Overall - 3rd
Beam - 4th
Floor - 3rd
Bars - 4th
Vault - 1st