Montage of Kayla and Keara Nel

Like most identical twins, Kayla and Keara Nel have a lot in common. They’ve both represented Australia in gymnastics competitions around the world, are now coaches and have made close friends along the way.

The twins’ mum, Jodie, said sport had always been at the centre of the family: “I played a lot when the girls were little, so they spent a lot of time watching from the sidelines and joining in when given the opportunity,” she said. “They picked up different sports quickly — it was a local joke in Karratha that they were the twins who didn’t sleep!”

“We started doing gymnastics at seven as we wanted to learn cool tricks. Once the hours of training went up, we stopped all the other sports,” Keara said.

KidSport provided crucial support to Kayla and Keara along the way.

“As a single parent I couldn’t afford for them to do more than one sport at a time. Gymnastics is an expensive sport — my kids couldn’t have done it without KidSport,” Jodie said.

The twins went on to achieve their dream of representing Australia — competing in New Zealand, Russia, Bulgaria and Japan — but they also made important friendships.

“I have friends from all over the world. I met my fiancé at the gym and one of my bridesmaids is a teammate from a past World Championships,” Keara said.

Kayla and Keara are now both gymnastics coaches. They enjoy sharing their love of the sport with others and helping kids to reach their potential.

“If a child is finding it hard to learn a skill, I can use my own experiences to help them. I love to inspire and mentor younger athletes especially when they’re dealing with mental blocks,” Keara said.

Jodie believes playing sport created positive outcomes for the twins.

“They are both outgoing and friendly coaches and mentors because of the opportunities and experiences they have had,” she said. “As well as coaching gymnastics, Kayla starts her career as a physical education teacher soon and Keara is a disability care worker.”

“KidSport gave my children the chance to experience everything they wanted and worked hard for, without being held back by financial constraints. It’s helped them to reach for the stars.”

Page reviewed 18 November 2021