Waikato teens head to US for CrossFit Games
Four Waikato teenagers are today winging their way to the United States to put their CrossFit skills to the test on the world stage.
Kashius Baird-Gillett, 14, Kaeley Elkington, 16, Te Huringa Whitiora, 16, and Levi Ririnui, 17, are among 13 who will represent New Zealand at the Annual Teen Gauntlet Gathering in California.
The youngsters will first attend this weekend's CrossFit Games, then launch into their own three-day competition from next Wednesday to Friday.
It is the first time the youth competition has been staged. Along with scored individual and team events, it will also be a learning experience, with CrossFit Kids co-founders Jeff and Mikki Martin helping to run training workshops.
The Waikato quartet earned their places at the event after high placings on the worldwide leaderboard for their divisions, following two individual teen gauntlets held in New Zealand between October 2013 and April this year.
Entrants undertook six workouts involving overhead squats, pullups, a 50m sprint, an 800m run, double unders skipping, handstands, powerclean lifts and box jumps.
Baird-Gillett, who attends Hamilton Boys' High School and trains at CrossFit Waikato, qualified first in the world for novice male, and he has been joined by school and gym-mate Ririnui, who is in the Varsity (16-18 years) section.
Elkington, who attends Tai Wananga, and trains at CrossFit Te Rapa, was first in the world for Junior Varsity (14-16 years) female, while her gym-mate Whitiora, who goes to Ngataiatea Wharekura, was second in the male section.
The teens have been training hard, in their gyms sometimes every day of the week, while they have all had to come up with about $2500 in order to take part.
That has seen them undertake a massive fundraising effort, with support also coming from All Black Liam Messam, whose wife is a good friend of Elkington's mum.