Gymnastics NZ Headlines
We are deeply saddened to see the recent article in the NZ herald about abuse of competitive athletes at North Harbour Gymnastics. Firstly, our thoughts are with the athletes and their families and we do sincerely hope that their privacy is respected. This type of treatment of athletes at any level is unacceptable.
When the Athlete A documentary was released on Netflix, I contacted Gymnastics NZ to express my concerns that they should investigate the situation in NZ as we could not be naive and think that GNZ was immune. They did say it was a valid point, but no action had been taken by them at that time that I had been advised of.
Gym Kids was established as a recreational Gymnastics gym. Pablo’s viewpoint has always been that the training required for highly competitive levels is far too tough on young athletes. He was a gymnast himself and has a physical education degree.
Our focus is teaching fundamental movement through Gymnastics. We offer the opportunity for our Gymnasts to compete at a recreational level if they choose to. There are a lot of great positive benefits that children can gain from this experience. No issues have been raised about the coaching of Recreational Gymnastics.
We do also have a small group of STEP gymnasts who compete at GNZ sanctioned events. These Gymnasts have only just recently increased their training to 6.5hrs per week. If you have read the article you will have seen them talking about athletes who train 20hrs per week and more, these are much higher levels then our girls train at.
Having been an elite athlete myself (rowing) and also having Ailen on our team who competed at the Rio Olympics in Gymnastics we are fully aware of the pressures that can be placed on young athletes. This is not a culture that we want to see in our club or to continue in Gymnastics as a sport.
Sport NZ has created a fantastic resource for all those involved in youth Sport called Balance is better. I would encourage all parents to take a look as it has some really good articles that can help you navigate your way through supporting your child in sport https://balanceisbetter.org.nz/
I hope that this information helps to clarify that your children’s well being is top of mind for us and we are focused on creating positive experiences through Gymnastics. If you have any concerns or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me.
Tania Donnianni - Director