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Breaking in a new thing: Dunne pumped for Paris 2024

3 minute read

From a sick infant adopted from the Philippines to the international stage, 16-year-old Jeff Dunne is ready to compete in breakdancing's debut in the Olympics.

From a regional city in the Philippines to the Parisian streets, Jeff Dunne is ready to break the mould of what an Olympian can be.

Selected as one of Australia's inaugural breakdancing Olympic athletes in February, the 16-year-old prodigy will be one of the youngest Aussies headed to France for the 2024 Games.

Born in Davao, in the southernmost part of the Philippines, Dunne was adopted by mother Rhondda Dunne at just one year old.

"He was just a sick baby," Ms Dunne said, explaining that stomach issues meant Dunne was unwell from an early age.

"They had a bit of a hard time trying to get him adopted because people don't want medical issues to go with it (the adoption)," Ms Dunne told AAP.

Eventually Rhondda and her partner were able to bring Dunne home to coastal NSW, where he made a full recovery and took up breakdancing aged seven alongside his sister.

Dunne competes as "J Attack" and alongside team-mate Rachael "Raygun" Gunn, won the Oceania Breaking Championships in 2023, which secured them berths at the 2024 Olympics.

The pair will be among 16 men and 16 women breakers from around the world to compete as the inaugural breakdancers in the Olympics, introduced as a new sport for the Games after it featured at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018.

Though preparing to compete on the world stage is tough on the body, Dunne said his mother had had a harder time in the lead-up than him.

"She gets more nervous than me," he laughed.

Ms Dunne explained the prospect of injuries, common in the high-impact sport, meant "you just don't know what's going to happen" when competing.

Previously concerned by wrist niggles, Dunne said a regime of stretching and conditioning meant he was in fine form for Paris.

"He could get a medal ... because everyone's thinking that he's the youngest one, we don't need to worry about him," Ms Dunne told AAP, glowing with pride at her son's achievements.

Despite being eligible for Philippines citizenship once he turns 18 and having a strong connection to his country of birth, Dunne has no plans to make a move north.

"I'd love to represent the Philippines as well but I mean, I've grown up in Australia and this is my life," he said.

"I'm just so honoured and privileged that I can represent Australia ... and show the world what breakdancing's about."

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