Jack off to Russia to take on world
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.