Anna Grigson is chasing her dream - or more accurately tumbling towards it.

The 14 year old has made it into the New Zealand cheerleading team, which will head off to the Cheerleading World Championships next year in Florida where she will represent the country in three teams.

"I love everything about cheerleading as you get to learn new skills and I definitely like tumbling the most," she told the Bay News.

The dedicated Bay Twisters teenager will also give up Tauranga while she trains with the squad, which is based in Auckland.


"I am really excited at the moment."

Anna has been involved with cheerleading since she was five and hopes to make a future career out of it.

"I want to get a scholarship and go to America and cheer there." In the meantime she is putting in the hard graft learning her routines and the new choreography.

Her mum Rebecca says her daughter gives cheerleading 120 per cent so it was cool she made the national squad. "She lives, breathes and sleeps cheerleading."

Anne Young from Bay Twisters says Anna puts in 15-20 hours of cheerleading practice every week on top of her school work. "She is undergoing 'gruelling' training in a bid to be the best."

Anna recently defended her title as National Champion at the New Zealand Cheerleading National and is part of the 24-strong NZ All Girl Elite and Junior All Girl Advanced teams as well as the NZ Co-ed team. She is the only Tauranga cheerleader selected for the New Zealand representative teams.

"Many people think of cheerleading as a sideline activity that supports other sports but this couldn't be further from the case. The International Olympics Committee have formally endorsed cheerleading as an official sport for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics due to its skill requirements in acrobatic tumble, stunts and dance, and the New York Times has recognised that cheerleading is the fastest growing sport for girls with over 4.5 million registered athletes worldwide," Anne says.

"Anna is among New Zealand's best talent in the sport and a role model for the 150 budding cheerleaders who are members of her club, Bay Twisters."

Anna also regularly competes with local Tauranga team, Bay Twisters Lightning and is also a coach at the club, where she is New Zealand's youngest person to hold cheerleading NZCU coaching credentials in Level 1 and 2.

Established on April 26, 2004 it is the recognised world governing body of cheerleading.

ICU comprises of 105 member National Cheer Federations and 3.5 million athletes from all continents.

It hosts World Championships and regularly welcomes more than 70 nations.

The World Cheerleading Championships are being held in Florida from April 25 to 27.

To follow Anna's journey, follow her on facebook at annagrigsonofficial.