The Affinity Gymnastics Academy senior squad

Gymnasts celebrating improvements

by Ann van Engelen

Affinity Gymnastics Academy has celebrated its first full year of operation with seven gymnasts attending the 2019 Gymsports National Championships held in Auckland and one travelling to the USA.

“The gymnasts joined other athletes from other clubs in the region to represent Team Canterbury,” said club president Ryan Jones.

“The Canterbury Team topped the medal table during nationals, and it was great to see Affinity gymnasts contributing. The Male Artistic Gymnastics programme at Affinity continues to grow under the recent addition to the management team of head coach, Aaron Clutterbuck, a former senior international gymnast and internationally qualified coach. Aaron has been busy working with senior gymnast Finlay Jones, who was called up to represent New Zealand on an international competitive tour in Texas this month.

“Finlay has done extremely well, as you would expect the standard of gymnastics in the USA is very high, and everyone at Affinity is very proud of how he has performed on the tour.

“The idea to establish Affinity Gymnastics Academy started because there were no dedicated artistic gymnastics facilities located in the Selwyn district.

“The national governing body for the sport, Gymnastics New Zealand, recognised the growth in the Selwyn region in their 2017 National Facility Strategy and called for the creation and development of a dedicated facility in the capacity of a subregional hub. Since opening Affinity, we have seen our membership grow by 200 per cent to around 500 members.

“The plan is to continue to grow and include other gym sports codes as well as other sports. Affinity recently welcomed West Side Judo to use their space when the judo club ran into difficulty with their existing space due to asbestos. This addition was a natural fit for the business strategy of the academy as the founders had always planned to incorporate other sports under the concept of providing a sporting hub.

“The plan is still to build a facility that incorporates sports that aren’t currently well represented in our region. We have started with artistic gymnastics, judo and want to offer other gym sports and complementary sports in the near future. Ideally, the facility will be located close to the Foster Park Sports Reserve — providing better access to the community and schools in the area.”