Auckland and Canterbury dominate gymnastics champs

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One of the almost 1000 athletes who participated at the National Gymnastics Championships in Invercargill.

AGILITY, flexibility and strength were on display as almost 1000 athletes enjoyed a week in the deep south for the 2016 National Gymnastics Championships.  The five-day event saw representatives from 16 provinces battle it out at ILT Stadium Southland, with Auckland and Canterbury dominating the titles.

Both trampoline titles went to the same Auckland household, with Rachel Schmidt taking out the senior women’s trampoline, and brother and Olympian Dylan Schmidt the senior men’s.
Dylan also claimed the synchronised trampoline title with team-mate Sean Wilson.
Canterbury came up trumps in artistic gymnastics with Mackenzie Slee crowned the women’s national champion and Jorden O’Connell-Inns the men’s.  The rhythmic gymnastics title was won by Aucklander Clementine Hutchison while Laura Furse, from Gymsport Manukau, won the title of New Zealand Aerobics Champion.
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GymSports New Zealand performance pathways and communications manager Anna Robertson said more than 2600 spectator tickets were sold over the five-day event providing some great school holiday entertainment for locals and visitors alike.  She said the event had a “real community feel”.
“It was an amazing event that would not have been possible without our volunteers.”
She said one man travelled over 100km from Tapanui to lend a hand.

Robertson said it had not yet been decided which city would host the 2017 competition but with a successful inaugural event, Invercargill would “certainly be an option”.
GymSports NZ chief executive Tony Compier said stadium staff not only delivered on their world-class venue, but made all visitors feel at home.
“The local community has also blown us away. Over 160 volunteers staffed the event, more than half of whom were locals.”

Compier said the event was a huge success.
“Even in this competitive environment, it’s refreshing to see so much camaraderie between athletes. It was clearly evident that a lot of new friends were made over the course of the event. The sense of community was definitely a highlight.”

– Jonathan Dine

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