Double-blow injuries hit SASI stars

The reminder that high-level sport can be a fluctuating ride was shown again last week when Gymnastics Australia and SASI scholars Chris Remkes and Clay Stephens suffered possible long-term injuries in separate competitions around the world

IN A freak twist of fate Gymnastics Australia and SASI stars Clay Stephens and Chris Remkes face a race against time to keep in contention for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games following serious injuries sustained in competitions last week.

Stephens, based in the US, ruptured his ACL while representing the University of Illinois at a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Gymnastics event. It is another injury blow for Stephens who ruptured his ACL in the other knee during the 2017 world championship.

Remkes, a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medaliist, suffered his injury at the Artistic World Cup round in Doha.

Already with recent World Cup events under his belt in both Melbourne and Baku, Remkes had qualified for finals in both floor and vault in Doha.

Early in his floor routine Remkes landed awkwardly on an early pass, injuring his left knee.

Scans confirmed the ACL and meniscus injury which will mean he will be out of competition for at least this year.

Remkes will learn more about his injury when he returns to Australia.

Stephens also will face a long haul on the rehab track. But he is keeping upbeat with next year's Tokyo Olympics still a target.

"It's a tough pill to swallow after only being fully recovered for six months after my previous ACL rupture on my other knee,'' Stephens said.

"Somehow having gone through this one before makes this one both harder and easier.

"Easier knowing that I can get through the other side with a solid knee, and harder knowing how hard it is to get there.

"Surgery for me in the next week and then into rehab.

"My sights are to be back by the beginning of 2020 and ready for Olympic trials.''

Gymnastics Australia National Performance Director Andrew Logan said the organisation would provide plenty of support for Remkes and Stephens after consulting both athletes' medical advisers.

"The full recovery process will be determined once Chris has returned to Australia and once we have completed consultations with Clay's medical team in the United States,'' Logan said.

Follow SASI online

Facebook @SASInews

Twitter @SASI_sport

Instagram @sa_sports_institute