Gymnasts to flood city for nationals

INVERCARGILL will be flooded with at least 900 gymnasts when the Gym Sports New Zealand (GSNZ) Nationals 2016 are held in the city in three months’ time.
Although the event is organised and hosted by GSNZ, members of the Invercargill Gymnastic Club are fully behind it.
About 3000 people were expected to attend, including about 900 athletes, plus supporters, coaches, and chaperones accompanying competitors under 16, Invercargill club president Paul Burrows said.
The six-day event will be held at ILT Stadium Southland from September 28 to October 2.
It was the first time a nationals had been held here and there would be plenty of entertaining gymnastics for spectators, he said.
‘‘Every day there will be a variety of multi-disciplines on show, including artistic, aerobic, trampolining and rhythmic… It will be a great spectacle.’’
The nationals were being held here because the stadium was one of the few places in New Zealand which could accommodate all the athletes and disciplines, Mr Burrows said.
Accommodation during the event was booked out, with visitors also booking beds as far away as Gore and Winton, he said.
The event was a highlight for the club, especially as it coincided with 2016 being an Olympic year.
‘‘With gymnastics featuring at the Olympics, it is even more exciting to be able to see some of New Zealand’s up and coming athletes in action.’’
He was hoping a squad of 30-40 would represent the club at the nationals.
‘‘… Or potentially more because we will not have to fundraise for travel and accommodation.’’
Invercargill club gymnasts had benefited since the return of coaches Vladimir and Angela Saraev at the beginning of this year, Mr Burrows said.
Formerly from Russia, Mr Saraev was initially brought to Invercargill as a coach for the club in 2001 until he and his wife moved to the North Island in 2004.
‘‘We have already seen changes such as improved techniques and are looking to further develop the sport at a higher level.’’
Leading up to the nationals, members of the local club were competing at the Southland championships on August 6 and 7 at the stadium.
‘‘The public were welcome to attend and watch the artistic and aerobic disciplines.’’
Fundraising was an ongoing commitment for the club, he said.
‘‘So far we have raised $14,000 through grants to replace a lot of our worn-out equipment. It is an expensive sport… It cost us $49,000 for five bits of gear, including a high bar, pommel, beam and matting, and we still want to buy a double minitrampoline.’’
Í The club is holding a garage sale on Saturday at the Invercargill Dog Training Club, Lindisfarne St, from 8am, and a quiz night at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club on Friday, July 1.