Naazmi in medal contention

NAAZMI JOHNSTON has put herself in gold medal contention for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi next year after achieving her highest-ever placing at the rhythmic gymnastics world championship in Japan last week.

Johnston, who was born in Lismore and now lives in Sydney, finished 38th in the all-round competition which was a big improvement on her 56th placing in 2007.

She also led a very inexperienced Australian team that also included Janine Murray, Chloe Hayes and Danielle Prince into 22nd position in the team competition.

The results place the Aussie team second behind Cyprus in Commonwealth rankings and Johnston first in the all-round rankings for Delhi next year.

“Hopefully, fingers crossed, if I keep training hard then I could be in contention for a medal in Delhi,” Johnston said.

“It was also a great result for the team, in terms of the Commonwealth Games, as the only Commonwealth country ahead of us was Cyprus.”

Johnston said she was happy with three out of her four routines in Japan, and the format of the world titles, which allowed competitors the freedom to do four routines over four consecutive days.

“The fact that you only had to do one routine per day allowed you to concentrate better on each apparatus, so if you did a bad routine one day you could start anew the next,” she said.

“It's hard to know where you are ranked going into a world championship because there is no other competition that is quite as big, so I was happy with my results.”

Johnston recently made the move from Brisbane to Sydney where she has hooked up with Sydney Olympian Danielle LeRay as her coach.

She likes it because she is part of a much larger squad.

“It's good to have different styles and there are a lot of girls at the club in Sydney as opposed to Brisbane where there was just me and all the attention was on my training,” she said.

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