National GymClub Challenge shows that gymnastics really is for all

Anna Robertsone-News

Labour weekend saw the return of GymClub Challenge – the annual national celebration of recreational gymnastics (Gym for All). The event is an opportunity for gymnasts of all ages and abilities to demonstrate their skills, challenge themselves, compete in new codes, and most importantly have a huge amount of fun.

Hosted by Manawatu Gymsports, 290 athletes from 15 clubs around the country converged in Palmerston North and showcased their skills and passion for gymnastics. The energy across the entire weekend was spectacular.

“We loved meeting people from the wider gymnastics community” says event organisers Kim Fenn and Kylan Taylor. “The parkour warm-up in the park and the last minute addition of the adult trampoline division are a couple of highlights.”

12 adults showcased their skills on the trampoline, and it was the kids’ turn to form the judging panel, headed by Sean Robinson, 2023 trampoline and double-mini champion (17+ years).

“We came up with two divisions: the flippers and the flappers — if someone did a flip in their routine they were in the flippers, and if they didn’t then they were in the flappers” explains Jacqui McCann, Gymnastics NZ Midlands Relationship Manager.

Jacqui did her first Gym for All (GfA) event earlier this year, to show her daughter that gymnastics really is for everyone, and saw GymClub Challenge as an opportunity to do it again.

“It wasn’t initially programmed but thought it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t do it. Kim said there was room in the schedule, so we added the adult trampoline event. The next morning, there were 12 of us signed up.

“It pushed us all out of our comfort zones, and we had to egg each other on once we actually realised what we’d signed up for, but I’m really proud of what we all did. Most of us pulled off new skills in front of the judges that we had just learned that day. The whole experience of performing the routine was confronting, motivating, challenging, inspiring, and so much fun, all at once.

“And giving the kids the opportunity to judge us adults was priceless” Jacqui finishes.

Banners were awarded to clubs across several different categories, including top club, creativity, spirit, and sportsmanship.

We would like to extend an enormous thank-you to Kim Fenn, Kylan Taylor, and all of Team Fun from Manawatu Gymsports. They not only put on a fantastic event but went out of their way to support the attending clubs and made sure everyone felt welcome and enjoyed themselves.

Banner Awards

  • Top Club TeamGym – Harbour City Gymnastics
  • Top Club Apparatus – Manawatu Gymsports
  • Top Club DMT – Thames Gymsports
  • Top Club Trampoline – Manawatu Gymsports
  • Top Club GNZ Parkour – Hutt Valley Gymnastics
  • Top Club Tumbling – Thames Gymsports
  • Top Club Aerobics – Manawatu Gymsports
  • Top Club Rhythmic – Olympia Gymnastic Sports

Overall Banners

  • Top Club – Thames Gymsports
  • Champion Award – Manawatu Gymsports
  • Creativity – Harbour City Gymnastics
  • Spirit – Cambridge Gymnastics
  • Sportsmanship – Gymnastica