Gymnast mates Christopher Bunton and Nichols Zrnic balance sporting rivalry with care


CHRISTOPHER Bunton and Nicholas Zrnic are teammates and best friends who share an almost brotherly band and a passion for gymnastics.

Both 25, they have known each other when they were children and their birthdays are only five days apart. They are inseparable.

But while they train and work together to make their NSW Special Olympics team successful, they have the kind of competition rivalry that only close friends generate.

Christopher collected most of the gold medals and Nicholas a Swag of Silver and Bronze in their National Games competition in Marion yesterday, so shook their hands and sat down to enjoy the rest of their time in Adelaide.

Christopher says their friendship is awesome.

"Sometimes we have disagreements, but it's all good," he said. Your coach, Matthew Wotton, said that "they have always competed against each other", but that friendship makes better competitors.

"There's a reason to go to workout everyday," he said. "Training is not easy, we train them hard, but when you have someone to do that, it does much better. With any sport, it's more about who you are with than what you do." Christopher said, that he had only started in Special Olympics because he wanted to compete, but "I grew like a person" through the relationships he had formed in sports.

"Without gymnastics, I would not be the person I am today," he said. The theme has come through every day on these national games.

On the tennis game in West Lakes yesterday, Mum and Dad Soula and Petros Petrakis were full of loving pride when looking at daughter Andriana, 15, winning a single match. [19659010] She had not begun speaking before she was six years old and needed speech treatment, they complemented by encouraging her interaction with others in sports.

The result is a talkative teenager with a murderer. The best thing about Games for her was to "create new friends and build positive relationships."

Madam Petrakis said that through sport she "meets people she talks to people".

National Games will climb today with a spectacular final ceremony at the Adelaide Arena. Special Olympics Australia CEO Corene Strauss yesterday legally promised that it would be an event that "Commonwealth Games organizers will be envious".



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