Gymnasts flex for nationals

By AUT Journalism Student, Hayley McElwain

Mid-Island Gym Sport Gymnasium is jumping into action to prepare for the National Gymnastic Championships in October.

The competition showcases the most talented young gymnasts in New Zealand and Mid-Island Gym is set to have many members qualify for the event.

New Zealand representative, 12-year-old Gilad Farkash is training hard and expected to place well after his success at the Australian Gymnastic Championships in Sydney in July.

Placing fourth on the double mini trampoline and fifth on individual trampoline in the under-13 category in Australia, the Rotorua Intermediate student said he hopes to qualify for the worlds next year.

"I got into gymnastics because of my brother. I have been doing tramp for five years and want to represent my country."

Coach and mother Lynette Farkash said Gilad was very motivated to do well.

"Gilad has always been in the gym as the sport runs in the family. He started jumping when he was seven and is very talented and hard working."

Lynette said Gilad's success had given the other kids more motivation to compete and train harder.

Among other successes for the club, three Mid-Island gymnasts won their level groups at the Midland Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Hamilton and have qualified for nationals.

Michael Stanley, 12, Shaun Mathis, 14, and Damian Hewett, 16, all came first in their men's artistic gymnastics level.

This event involves competing in different apparatus such as high bar, rings, floor and the pommel horse. Gymnasts need to get the highest combined score to win.

Western Heights High School student Damian won the level eight category. He is no stranger to winning.

"I won the Midlands level four category a few years ago and it's exciting to have won again. I have been doing gymnastics for four-and-a-half years and my goal is to represent New Zealand at both the Commonwealth and Olympic Games," he said.

Shaun, a John Paul College student who won the level six competition, said hoped to place in the top six at the nationals.

"I was chosen to be competitive gymnast three days after starting recreational gymnastics here three years ago. My main goal is to place on an apparatus at the upcoming national comp."

Rotorua Intermediate student Michael came first in the level five category and is a five-year veteran of the sport.

"I really want to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games and place in the top three on pommel horse at nationals."

Coach Ken Bow has been training the Midlands winners for three years and said all the boys worked incredibly hard.

"They are in the gym four or five days a week and all show big commitment to the sport."

Migs to host tumbling competition

A new addition to the Rotorua Mid-Island Gym Sport Gymnasium means the club will be hosting its first Midland Gymnastic tumbling competition next weekend.

A tumbling track has been hired by the gymnasium and Mid-Island coach Lynette Farkash said the club hoped to eventually buy it.

"Tracks usually cost around $50,000 but this one is costing $20,000. We have had some sponsorship for the track, but we still have a lot of fundraising to do."

The Midland Championship is a Gym Sport New Zealand-sanctioned qualifier for nationals and world age groups, and will include tumbling and trampoline competitions.

Gymnasts from the Midlands region will be joined by competitors from as far as Auckland and Christchurch.

Farkash said the new track had been useful to everyone in the gym.

"Everyone in the gym is using it as well as the tumbling competitors."

Coach and parent Fiona Hewett said the track would help the everyone compete at a higher level.

"The track is an amazing addition for all our kids. We are all working towards the same goal to help these kids succeed and every gymnast here is important."

For further information on the event contact (07) 349 3108 or see the MIGS Gym Sport Rotorua Facebook page.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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