The New Zealand Olympic Committee and Gymnastics New Zealand (Gymnastics NZ) has named a full five-person men’s artistic gymnastics team and two individual rhythmic gymnasts to the New Zealand Team for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The men’s artistic gymnastics team is:
- Mikhail (Misha) Koudinov – Tri Star Gymnastics
- Ethan Dick – Tri Star Gymnastics
- Sam Dick – Tri Star Gymnastics
- William Fu Allen – Tri Star Gymnastics
- Jorden O’Connell-Inns – Christchurch School of Gymnastics
The rhythmic gymnasts are:
- Havana Hopman – Counties Manukau Gymnastics
- Paris Chin – Christchurch United Gymnastics
Misha Koudinov continues to stamp his name in New Zealand’s history books, as the two time Olympian leads the men’s team into a record fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games.
"As my fifth Commonwealth Games approaches, I am having more fun with my training than ever before," said Koudinov.
"This selection affirms my training methods and reflects a lifestyle grounded in well-being and sports longevity. This selection also plays an important part in our future development, providing an enormous amount of experience for our team, as well as motivation for the future generation of New Zealand athletes. We’re all looking forward to this Commonwealth adventure and receiving the higher energy that such events bring to our growth."
The team is a good mix of youth and experience. Ethan Dick, who is currently studying and training at Penn State University, will be heading into his second Commonwealth Games. His younger brother Sam Dick, as well as Fu Allen and O’Connell-Inns, will all be making their Commonwealth Games debuts.
The men from Tri Star are coached by Mark Jujnovich and Olympian David Phillips, who have both had their time on the competition floor at the 1990 and 1998 Commonwealth Games respectively. O’Connell-Inns is coached by Alexander Pozdniakov, who attended the 2018 Commonwealth Games as a coach.
Each athlete contributes individual specialties to the overall team potential. Koudinov is extremely strong on the parallel bars, while Ethan Dick will be aiming to better his Gold Coast 2018 sixth-place finish on floor. Sam Dick comes off two fourth place vault finishes at the Youth Olympic Games and Junior World Championships. O'Connell-Inns brings a high degree of skill on the pommel horse, considered the most technical of the men’s six events, and Fu Allen adds an element of consistency to the team event as an all-around athlete, after some strong showings at world cup events in Cottbus and Doha earlier this year. Together, the team will be striving for a podium finish against powerhouse nations, England, Canada, and Australia.
In the women's rhythmic gymnastics, both Chin and Hopman have attended multiple World Cups and international tournaments throughout Europe this year. This high level of competition against the traditionally strong eastern European nations has prepared them well for the Games.
"I am very excited, and my emotions are high. I am honoured and proud to represent my country", said Hopman.
"We’ve had a lot of challenges in the last two years, but Havana has worked very hard to achieve her goal of representing New Zealand in Birmingham, and we are very proud of her," adds Tracey Redhead, who coaches Havana alongside Elena Pirozhenko.
"My selection to the NZ Team is an honour," said Chin.
"When I was younger, I watched other gymnasts compete at the Commonwealth Games and I always hoped that one day, I would get the chance. Now that I’m heading to Birmingham, I hope to be an inspiration for all the other young girls in rhythmic gymnastics to achieve their hopes and dreams because they can come true when you work hard, have the right people to help you get there, and good luck on your side."
Gymnastics NZ CEO, Tony Compier says the organisation is delighted for all the athletes selected for this year’s Games.
"It is a tremendous honour and continues the tradition of a strong New Zealand gymnastics representation at this Commonwealth pinnacle,” said Tony.
“We know how hard the athletes have worked to get here, particularly during the last two years with Covid. This is a great boost to them, and our sport, to now have an opportunity to show the results of all their hard work in Birmingham."
NZOC CEO Nicki Nicol extended her congratulations to the athletes.
"Well done to Gymnastics New Zealand and to these seven athletes. We're thrilled to be taking a strong and exciting gymnastics team to the Games, and we look forward to watching them in action in several months time."
The naming takes the total number of athletes currently selected to the New Zealand Team for Birmingham 2022 to 39.