From Rome to Melbourne: Gymnastics Coach Sara Talks Visas and Vaulting

When Italian gymnastics coach Sara left Rome in 2015, she had no idea that two years later she’d be leading a young squad to the Victorian State Championships with Cheltenham Youth Club. She shares her story.

Sara started gymnastics as a young child and hasn’t looked back since.

“From day one I just loved it,” she says, explaining that she spent more time walking on her hands than her feet as a child.Sara competed in gymnastics from the age of eight; however, an injury to her wrist at sixteen changed everything.

“I was not able to do bars, tumbling, vault and most of the acrobatic skills on beam,” she explains. 

Sara knew then that it was time to take her passion for gymnastics in another direction and become a coach.

“I started coaching just after my injury as a part time afternoon job. My passion and love [for gymnastics] made me feel that coaching it was the job of my life. 

“I love kids, I love teaching, and I love to transmit my knowledge and my passion for what I am doing. It was the beginning of my career.”

A few years later, Sara’s studies at the Italian University of Sport and Movement in Rome led to her re-starting gymnastics training and representing her university at the European Cup.

“That was probably the best time in my life, I grew up as an athlete and as a coach.

“I’m lucky, because I got the opportunity to work for KINES ROMA, which is a competitive gym in my city, beside my manager, who was an ex-Olympic gymnast. He was a great teacher and a wonderful example of what love and passion for coaching gymnastics means.”

After graduating, Sara took time out to travel and work as a fitness coach across Europe, although she never lost her passion for gymnastics. In 2015, after hearing how well-respected the coaching profession is in Australia, Sara decided to make the move Down Under on a Working Holiday Visa.

After initially working at a friend’s gym, Sara was employed as a gymnastics coach by CYC. Sure that she wanted to remain in Australia, and with her old visa close to expiring, Sara and CYC worked with True Blue Migration Services to apply for a 408 visa. In just two weeks, Sara’s new visa was granted, allowing her to continue coaching for another two years. 

“I could not be more grateful to our migration agent,” Sara says, noting that the Australian visa system has changed considerably over the last few years, making it tricky for applicants and clubs to navigate.

Although there is a fee attached to using a registered migration agent, she “strongly recommends” it for peace of mind.

Since working for CYC, Sara says she has notched up many “wonderful achievements”. 

“One girl I am training became an athlete for the National State Team, Silver Medalist on vault 2017, and my young boys squad became Victorian champions in 2017.”

It looks like the only way is up from here.

From the whole team at True Blue and Gymnastics Victoria, we wish you the best of luck for the future.

True Migration Services is a proud sponsor of Gymnastics Victoria. Read more about sponsoring a gymnastics coach here.