Waitara talent heads to nationals

18:03, Oct 01 2012
Waitara gymnasts
Waitara gymnasts heading to the nationals in Blenheim, from left, Tegan Bunyan 12, Alyssha Hesseltine 13, Nikita Mischewski 16, Gemma Goble 12, Lucy Parker 12, Sophie Jury 12, Zak Judson 12, Jakub Mischewski 13, Emma Hopkinson 15, Emma Larsen 14, Olivia Hogan 14; front centre, Holly Smith 17.

Waitara club members make up the entire Taranaki artistics gymnastic team competing at the New Zealand championships starting in Blenheim today.

The gymnasts had to qualify at various competitions throughout the country to be selected in the team. They had to meet a set mark and be placed in the top four gymnasts in each of their levels/steps in Taranaki.

"They are a strong team. They are looking good and have been training hard," said coach Shirley Baker.

"They train from 10-15 hours a week, depending on their step/level. The step 8s only have Friday and Sunday off training but usually do some additional cardio on these days. Their programme is full, but needs to be to be able to achieve the standard required to be competitive."

The team comprises Olivia Hogan, Lucy Parker, Sophie Jury, Gemma Goble all step 5; Alyssha Hesseltine and Emma Larsen in step 6; Holly Smith, Nikita Mischewski and Emma Hopkinson in step 8; Jakub Mischewski in level 4; and Zak Judson and Tegan Bunyan in level 5.

The team's coach/judges are Shirley and Hayley Baker; manager is Donna Hesseltine and assistant manager is Sandra Smith.

During the year, the team of 12 gymnasts have won 58 medals and have gained numerous top-three apparatus placings at all competitions they attended. Olivia Hogan, Nikita Mischewski and Jakub Mischewski also won the Midlands Champion titles in their respective levels/steps in July this year.

During the week-long nationals, the three step 8 gymnasts will be looking at qualifying to compete for New Zealand at the Aloha Gymfest competition in Hawaii in January.

That competition attracts gymnasts from the US, Canada, Japan, China and Australia.