Sports fans will have a rare opportunity to see the country's best gymnasts in action, including two former Marlburians, when members of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team compete at the Marlborough Gymnastic Championships tomorrow.
In the annual event hosted by the Blenheim Gymnastics Club, the five-strong artistic women's Games team, which includes former Marlborough gymnast Anna Tempero, will strut their stuff at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 as part of their preparation for their Glasgow campaign in July and August.
Also on show will be former Blenheim club star Matt Palmer, who will travel to Glasgow with the five-strong men's team.
The appearance of the Kiwi gymnasts is the biggest drawcard for the event, which will showcase almost 500 competitors from around the country.
The Games team, which will perform in the senior artistic event from approximately 6pm on Saturday, comprises Tempero, Courtney McGregor, Brittany Robertson, Mackenzie Slee and Charlotte Sullivan, all of whom train out of the Christchurch School of Gymnastics.
Also competing will be Millie Williamson, Oceania's sole representative at the 2014 Youth Olympics in China later this year.
It means Marlborough locals will get to see world-class gymnasts and event co-ordinator Tony Quirk believes it is a special event for the region.
"It is a marvellous opportunity for Marlborough to see some truly international routines," Quirk said.
He said the event was made possible with the volunteers, sponsors and committee of the Blenheim Gymnastics Club, one of the few fully volunteer clubs remaining in the country.
For Tempero, who grew up in Blenheim and attended Marlborough Girls' College, the championships represent a welcome return home.
Formerly of Blenheim Gymnastics Club, Tempero moved south to the Christchurch School of Gymnastics at the beginning of last year to pursue her dream of competing at international level, a goal she has now realised.
However, the gymnast hasn't forgotten her Marlborough roots.
"I'm really excited for the weekend," said Tempero. "It's been a while since I've been to Blenheim so I can't wait to celebrate with the people who started this dream off in the first place."
She also highlighted the importance of the event in relation to the Commonwealth Games saying it gives her team an opportunity to trial the new skills they have been working on.
The oldest member of the New Zealand women's team at 19 years, Tempero is considered a good all-rounder who excels on all apparatus.
Also competing will be former Blenheim gymnast Matt Palmer, who will attend his second Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Like Tempero, the 27-year-old started his career at the Blenheim Gymnastics Club before moving to Auckland. Palmer will compete on his specialty apparatus, the rings, on Sunday and will also judge events tomorrow.
Commencing at 8am on both days, the event ends at approximately 8pm tomorrow and around 3pm on Sunday and has a minimal door charge.
- The Marlborough Express