Jack off to Rus­sia to take on world

Hastings Leader - - Book Review -

Four­teen-year-old Jack Jones may seem like many kids his age.

“I have a pas­sion for tram­polin­ing,” he says.

But that pas­sion has taken him some­what fur­ther than most. Later this year he will rep­re­sent New Zealand in ‘The Worlds’, the 26th FIG Tram­po­line Gym­nas­tics World Age Group in St Peters­burg, Rus­sia. Jack’s cat­e­gory — the dou­ble mini.

It’s not bad for a boy who only got into tram­polin­ing three years ago when he moved from Hawke’s Bay to Auck­land. Pre­vi­ously, at just 11, he had trained in gym­nas­tics for two terms at the Hastings Gym­nas­tics Club, where he won two gold medals in one com­pe­ti­tion — first over­all and the team medal.

“When I moved to Auck­land I wanted to try some­thing new,” he ex­plains. “I re­ally en­joy park­our and tram­polin­ing in­ter­ested me. I liked the adren­a­line rush it gave me. I joined Ex­treme Tram­polin­ing which later merged with Icon in Man­gere and now I train four to five times a week.

“My dream is to qual­ify for the Olympics when I’m old enough,” he says.

But Jack’s pas­sion is ex­pen­sive. Fees and uni­form aside, he trav­els to a lot of com­pe­ti­tions around New Zealand and has twice been to Mel­bourne com­pet­ing.

“My MAGS (Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School) work and train­ing take up most of my time, so I am reach­ing out to New Zealan­ders to help me rep­re­sent my coun­try with a Givealit­tle page.”

The funds raised will hope­fully cover his travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion in Rus­sia, with any sur­plus go­ing to­wards his next international trip to rep­re­sent New Zealand. Jack feels lucky to qual­ify.

“I had tried sev­eral times to reach the mark, but fell short. My last chance was a com­pe­ti­tion in Gis­borne in June. But I ended up qual­i­fy­ing by a whole 1.6 points — which is lots.”

His fam­ily is very sup­port­ive and ex­cited for Jack, who can’t wait for Rus­sia.

“I’m very proud of Jack and what he’s qui­etly achieved in life so far,” says Hawke’s Bay District Health Board clin­i­cal nurse man­ager and mum Mary Tylee.

“What an op­por­tu­nity for him. Who knows where it will lead.”

Mary says she quickly recog­nised her son’s “con­sid­er­able tal­ent”.

Coach Gerry O’Brien says Jack has pro­gressed very quickly, es­pe­cially in dmt (dou­ble-mini), to be ranked now at world level.

“Now he is begin­ning to re­alise the huge moun­tain he needs to climb to achieve his goal — to beat the best in the world. Can you imag­ine how dif­fi­cult it would be to do two som­er­saults, how about adding two twists to that, and hav­ing to do that with tight body lines. And then hav­ing to con­sider if you will land on your feet, and hope­fully not strain some­thing.

“Well at train­ing, tram­po­line ath­letes go through this process sev­eral times dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion. And of course, to com­pete at this level, Ki­wis must travel to the far reaches of the planet — at con­sid­er­able ex­pense.

“Quite a hur­dle to con­tem­plate for a boy just find­ing his way in the world.”

Jack’s ad­vice to any other kids who might want to tram­po­line com­pet­i­tively — “Have fun and en­joy ev­ery minute of it.”

■ For dona­tions to Jack’s trip to Rus­sia visit : givealit­tle.co.nz/cause/ can-you-help-me-to-get-to-rus­sia-torep­re­sent-nz . Jack Jones is a tram­po­line cham­pion.

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