YOUNG all-abilities students in Tayla Moody’s gym class inspire her every day. The 15-year-old gymnastics coach hopes to do them proud when she steps out on Sturt Street to carry the Queen’s Baton on Tuesday.
Tayla said words could not describe the honour – or how hard it was to keep her call-up a secret a whole week until she could tell people. Tayla stayed up until 12.01am to let all her friends know.
The Ballarat High School student was nominated for her volunteer work at Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre coaching children with disabilities. Tayla now also has a job coaching gymnasts with disabilities at Ballarat Gymsports in Alfredton.
“I love teaching these children because I believe everybody should have the same opportunities,” Tayla said. “When I come into work, the children are so happy. They make my day.”
Tayla is also busy organising her Relay for Life team Breast Friends in between studies and gym classes. Her aim is to raise $5000 to name a research award after her aunt Michelle, who died with breast cancer two years ago.
“I was extremely close to her. I battled the battle with her,” Tayla said. “Relay for Life is such a beautiful event and I would absolutely love anyone to donate to this wonderful cause.”
Tayla is one of 28 batonbearers in Ballarat on Tuesday, making the halfway point in the Queen’s Baton journey across Australia en route to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
The Ballarat leg will feature hometown international athletes, including Jared Tallent (athletics), Ray Borner (basketball) and Australian chef de mission Steve Moneghetti (athletics). But it will also feature unsung community champions like Tayla.
The baton, carrying a message for athletes from Queen Elizabeth II, will start its Ballarat leg at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka and be carried to a community party at View Point, by Lake Wendouree.
Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh, who will receive the baton from Moneghetti at View Point, hoped to see the streets lined.
“We have many people in Ballarat that over many years have contributed and this is our opportunity to really put them out there in lights and to share the great achievements they have given,” Cr McIntosh said.
Mayor’s baton moment to watch
Marathon runner Richard Tann, who created the Tann Clan as way to bring together runners across the community, will carry the baton from the corner of Stawell and Victoria Streets in a horse-drawn carriage from Sovereign Hill.
He is an amazing man who has led many people into the fitness circuit over many, many years. He’s run every Melbourne Marathon other than the first one, which is when he started right through until last year. He has really encouraged many people to be part of a fit and health lifestyle.Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh