Waikato mum disappointed by limited options for male gymnasts
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/113280606/-

2019-06-11 04:40:18

A Morrinsville mum is contemplating moving in the future due to limited options for gymnastics in the Piako area.

Jack Hamilton, 10, named no back Jack by his friends, is in level three competitive men's artistic gymnastics at Huntly Gymnastics Club. His mum Krystal Hamilton currently drives him six hours a week to Huntly, the closest Waikato gym that she could find with a boys team.

She said when she first moved to Morrinsville from Auckland she was told the area had a boys team, however, she later found out Piako Gymnastics Club had cancelled their competitive boys teams.

"When we were looking at a town to live in it had to have a gymnasium, and so I pre-looked into the area and we were all set to move here and then I rang up to double check the times and they said the team had dispersed," said Krystal Hamilton.

"From what I've heard there were about five boys in the team and they've either decided not to do it or they had no coaches to train them.

​"If we knew we would have to drive 30 minutes one way to Huntly, we probably wouldn't have moved here," said Krystal Hamilton.

Both men and women compete on the vault and in floor exercises, but women's floor routines incorporate music and dance moves, whereas men's do not. The apparatuses are also very different with women using the uneven bars and balance beam for a total of four events, while men have pommel horse, parallel bars, high bar, and still rings.

"Gymnastics isn't just a girls sport and gyms need to start being more inclusive of that. I work at Morrinsville Intermediate School and I know there would be quite a few boys interested in gymnastics if there was something nearby."

"At his level he should be training almost everyday, but because we're not close enough to Huntly I can't always take him everyday, so it would be great to have something more local."

Jack said he wants to continue doing gymnastics and has big dreams to go to the Commonwealth Games when he's older.

"I like the flexibility side of gymnastics and doing flips, it's a lot of fun. My favourite male gymnast is Nile Wilson from England, he went to the Olympics and he's really funny," said Jack.

Sport Waikato Matamata Piako District Coordinator Lou Beer said Piako Gymnastics Club used to have a competitive boys team, but now only have a recreational boys team.

"We have had teams in the past, but we don't really have the right apparatuses and space for them at the gymnasium because boys teams require six apparatuses while girls only need four," Beer said.

She said there is still an interest in boys doing gymnastics, but the gym struggles to find coaches.

"There's also a lack of male coaches, we even struggle to find coaches for girls teams and if we do find some they are usually quite young. All gymnasiums outside of the city struggle with this so while we'd love to have a competitive boys team it's not really feasible at this time."

Beer said the Hamilton family, however, is more than welcome to contact Piako Gymnastics Club to use the facilities when Jack isn't able to make it to the Huntly training sessions.

"We are looking at building relationships with other gyms so that gymnasts can use both spaces and their training doesn't suffer because their not in a city all the time.

"We have about seven other gymnasts that we know of who also travel outside of the Piako area."

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