A group of gymnasts from Mount Maunganui's Impact Gymsport Academy are making their mark in the sport scoring top placings at their first international competition.
Charlise Byrne, Molly Matthews, Reece Cobb, Madeline Ramsey and Brooke Tomaszeski all competed in the recent Prime Gymnastics International Invitational 2018 in Singapore, where they came away with some outstanding results.
Cobb, who has been with Impact for three years, took 1st place in the Bar and Beam divisions, as well as 1st overall, Matthews, also with the gym for three years, scored herself a third-placing in the Bar and Beam as well as second overall, while Ramsey, who has been with Impact for one year, secured second in the Bar, third in the Beam and third overall. Together, they were also the 1st-placed team.
This was the travelling group's first experience at an international tournament. Impact Gymsport Academy coach Ebony Matenga said they planned to alternate between Singapore and Hawaii.
They were also participating in their first exchange, with 13 German gymnasts coming to train with them on December 12.
"Every one of the girls said it was the best competition they had ever competed at in terms of fun and the chance to meet international gymnasts and compete with them, everyone was so friendly and welcoming, we were the only team from New Zealand but there were teams from Perth, Melbourne, India, Philippines and Indonesia."
Preparations for the November competition were part of their overall schedule, having finished their nationals' training, saying "this was a continuation of what they had been preparing for all year".
"Each and every one of these girls lives and breaths the sport and there is no time for any distractions."
Matenga said even though she knew the young gymnasts were capable of podium placings, they had entered the competition for the experience.
"They had just come off the back of a very successful nationals and would still be physically and mentally exhausted from the year's hard work so, for them to have this success was amazing and I am so very proud of them."
Next up for two of the girls includes development training in Christchurch after being selected based on their results from the year. The training will further enhance their skills through access to more facilities, coaches and experts in the sport.
She hopes those girls gain the "highest level of their ability and most of all, for all my gymnasts, to enjoy the sport and to strive to achieve their best in all areas".
For the gym, Matenga says she will aim to have as many gymnasts as possible qualifying for nationals so that Bay of Plenty representation is strong.