Jumping on the lounge inspired Rayan Dunford’s family to enrol him in Gymfinity to help take some of the energy out of the youngster, now he’s competing at gymnastic state championships.
Over the school holidays Rayan, 10, entered the Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastic Junior State Championships and Region Team Challenge in Brisbane and came third overall in the level 3 division.
The Bundaberg Christian College Year 5 student said he was over the moon with the outcome and his parents Matthew and Hanan are both beaming with pride.
Rayan had placings on individual apparatuses, and received medals when he placed 2nd on floor, 3rd on pommel, 3rd on rings; he earned ribbons for 5th on high bar and 6th on parallel bar – quite an achievement for a person who only took up the sport two years ago.
“My sister, Farida, saw a lot of talent in me, because I was always jumping around on the couches and she said I should look at gymnastics,” Rayan said.
“I don’t jump on couches now – I am more chill!”
He said before any gymnastic competition the nerves would build, but once he was on the floor in front of hundreds of spectators his mind calmed and he would be in his comfort zone ready to compete.
Hard work and dedication support Rayan’s love for gymnastics
Rayan said the pommel was his favourite apparatuses, but it was also the hardest to perform and required a lot of concentration and determination.
He said the pommel routine was performed on something that looked similar to a mushroom, and the gymnast moved their legs in circular clockwise movement around it.
“It takes a lot of core strength and speed to maintain it,” Rayan said.
“We go around it 10 times.”
Matthew said he could see the hard work and dedication his had put in was now paying off.
“I have to give Rayan a lot of credit, he has so much focus and it’s all his own hard work that helped get him to this level – he trains 12 hours a week after school,” he said.
“He has found his niche and he trains really hard with the team of other boys at Gymfinity.
“He has had amazing results in such a short amount of time.”
Matthew said gymnastics wasn’t a common sport for men to compete in and he was glad Rayan had followed his heart, and it was a pleasure to watch him compete.
“The fitness level required in order to perform is really up there,” he said.
Hanan agreed, saying Rayan only started gymnastics as a fun hobby, but with the belief from his coaches Tony and Tracey Hogan at Gymfinity, the sports world had now opened.
Gymfinity inspires children to follow their dreams
“Tony and Tracey support all the kids and go to every event with them, even when there is only one child competing – they are there,” Hanan said.
“Last year Rayan competed at a State level also and he came 24th and to now come 3rd is an amazing jump – and it’s possible because of the support from Gymfinity.
“I never expected this is where we would be now, I thought it was just something fun when Rayan started and never thought it would go to the competition level!”
Rayan said he was also really proud of his teammates at Gymfinity and said all boys worked really hard and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
Rayan added that his dream would be for gymnastics to one day take him to the Commonwealth or Olympic Games.
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