Keep­ing her eyes on the Olympic prize

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - REXINE HAWES

The goal is huge, the work will be hard but Holly Burn­side has her eyes firmly set on her tar­get.

The Year Six Mata­mata Pri­mary School stu­dent has a dream to be an Olympic gym­nast.

For 18 months, she and her mum Janelle Burn­side have been trav­el­ling to Tau­ranga three days a week to at­tend the Ar­gos Gym­nas­tics Club.

While still young, and with plenty to learn, Holly is de­ter­mined she will see her goal come to re­al­ity. And she is al­ready well on her way.

She has earned medals in nearly ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion she has en­tered in the last year.

At a re­cent com­pe­ti­tion at the Mount Ta­hara Gym­nas­tics Club in Taupo, Holly placed first in floor, sec­ond over­all and her team placed third.

She com­petes against other teams from around the North Is­land.

Holly says she knows the only way she is go­ing to achieve her ul­ti­mate goal is to work hard.

She al­ready trains 13 hours per week at Ar­gos.

And as she gets older, she knows this will need to in­crease.

But for now, she is just hav­ing a great time, do­ing what she loves.

‘‘I just like do­ing all the skills, I like the peo­ple I prac­tise with and it’s just a lot of fun.

‘‘We do vault, beam, bar and floor in com­pe­ti­tions and I am­bet­ter at some than oth­ers.

‘‘I like floor, that’s my favourite, and I am good at it.’’

Janelle says a few years ago peo­ple would have shrugged off a New Zealand gym­nast’s dream to com­pete at an Olympic level.

But last year New Zealand gym­nast’s Court­ney McGre­gor, Mikhail Koudi­nov and Dy­lan Sch­midt com­peted at the Rio Olympics.

This was New Zealand’s largest Olympic gym­nas­tics team in over 50 years and the first since the Syd­ney Olympics in 2000.

‘‘Ev­ery­one was like wow, New Zealan­der’s can do it,’’ she said.

For Holly, it will mean join­ing Auck­land or Christchurch Gym­nas­tic’s Clubs in the fu­ture.

‘‘But if she wants to do it, we will sup­port her all the way.

‘‘All this ded­i­ca­tion to the sport is all her, she wants to do it. ‘‘You see the ben­e­fits. ‘‘You see it in in all the girls. They are so much more fo­cused.

‘‘They know if they work hard at a skill they will get it right. They re­alise they won’t get things handed to them.’’

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