Young gymnasts ready to shine

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The New Zealand Olympic Committee and Gymnastics New Zealand have named a further two gymnastics athletes to the New Zealand Team for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Fifteen-year-old women’s artistic athlete Stella Ashcroft from Christchurch School of Gymnastics has been selected to the team for her strengths in vault and beam.

Though going into her first senior year Stella is no stranger to podiums. 2016 saw her take bronze at the Pacific Rim Championships, before collecting a gold, silver, and a team bronze at the Junior Commonwealth Championships.

Last year Stella medalled at the Houston Invitational in the US, Australian Championships and Classic competitions and at the NZ Championships. Stella’s first competition as senior will be at the World Cup in Melbourne this month.

Fifteen-year-old Rhythmic gymnastics athlete Stella Ebert is also selected to the team. Stella’s junior career has gone from strength to strength, with the young athlete making finals in all her 2016 international competitions.

She won three bronze medals at the Junior Commonwealth Championships and placed first overall in all her domestic competitions.

Last year was Stella’s first taste of senior competition and she placed first in all domestic senior competitions she attended.

The pair are the youngest athletes selected to the New Zealand team so far.

Gymnastics New Zealand CEO Tony Compier says the two athletes have worked extremely hard to gain selection.

"I’ve been privileged enough to see first hand, our athletes don the silver fern and perform on the world stage. 

"What I have not seen is all the hours of training and sweat and tears that is always behind a competition performance.

"These selections are testament to the long hard yards that the girls have put in over the last 18 months and I’m excited for both them and our community, to see them perform up on that Commonwealth stage.”

NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.

“It’s fantastic to be adding another two athletes to the New Zealand gymnastics team for the Commonwealth Games.

"These young athletes have reached the pinnacle of their sport in New Zealand at a very young age and I have no doubt that they’ll represent New Zealand with pride and honour on the Gold Coast,” said Kereyn.

Ashcroft and Ebert add to the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics team to make a total of 7 athletes in the gymnastics contingent.

The naming takes the total number of selected athletes to 92.

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