Gymnastics club looking at Petone Sportsville option

Sovann Stewart, 3, tries out the trampoline at Hutt Valley GymSports.

Sovann Stewart, 3, tries out the trampoline at Hutt Valley GymSports.

​Hutt Valley GymSports is being overrun by its own success and desperately needs more space.

Their 800sqm warehouse in Gracefield, is half the size needed for a club with 615 members.

Manager Zara Struthers hoped GymSports would be included in Petone Sportsville. That, however, could be many years away and in the interim, the club was looking for a new home somewhere in the Hutt Valley.

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"If we could find something, we would leave now, we are desperate."

The Olympics helped raise the profile of gymnastics but that was only part of the reason for their popularity.

Parents increasingly understood the benefits gymnastics could offer, Struthers said.

"The fundamental movements they learn are a great base for every sport, whether it is soccer or rugby. They learn spatial awareness and balance."

In Lower Hutt there is an acute shortage of warehouse space and GymSports was not the only gymnastics club looking for a new home.

Finding something suitable was particularly hard for gymnastics, which needed an eight metre high roof. Ideally it would also have a foam pit, enabling young gymnasts to practice aerial moves knowing if they fell they would not be injured.

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Their most successful athlete, McKenzie Slee, had to move to Christchurch to chase her dream of going to the Commonwealth Games.

GymSports recently took on a new coach, Pasha Levchenko  from Spain, who was a professional gymnast in the Ukraine. Levchenko had set some lofty goals.

"Getting someone to the Commonwealth Games is definitely his long-term goal and I think he can achieve that. He is aiming higher than that, the Olympics."

Ideally, they needed a purpose built facility and that was why Petone Sportsville was an option Struthers preferred.

Having better facilities was the only way to stop top gymnasts like Slee moving to Auckland or Christchurch.

The Petone option would allow the club to host regional and national competitions.

Struthers said  GymSports was one of the biggest sporting clubs in Lower Hutt. Unlike codes such as soccer and cricket it did not receive any direct assistance from council.

With better facilities she believed the club could double its membership.

 - Hutt News

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