Pupils give it everything in Jump Jam contest

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Take 656 primary-aged children from 56 teams and 22 schools and you get the 2016 South Canterbury Jump Jam Extravaganza.
Hordes of people filled Timaru’s Theatre Royal last Wednesday to both take part and watch the event, which combines aerobics and dance.
Sport Canterbury Jump Jam co-ordinator Lee King said the Timaru event started in 2009 with six teams, and in the past eight years numbers had significantly increased.
The Jump Jam primary schools aerobics resource was developed by former New Zealand and world aerobics champion Brett Fairweather and introduced in South Canterbury as a participation event to help develop the skill and confidence of children.
‘‘This event has now evolved into a well-respected annual competition between South Canterbury schools,’’ King said.
‘‘Teams of up to 14 children compete in age group categories throughout the day and are judged on the elements of team synchronisation, movement quality and performance.’’
In addition to age group trophies, boys were encouraged to take part through the establishment of a boys-only teams category.
The top 20 teams from the heats returned to the Theatre Royal at night to compete in the finals in front of a full house.
Sport Canterbury encouraged and supported new teachers, parent coaches and pupil leaders through a Jump Jam coaches’ workshop, King said.
‘‘Ten new coaches were trained this year and two new schools entered teams for the first time. Nine student coaches were recognised and presented with certificates of outstanding leadership.’’
Further opportunities are open to successful teams to compete in South Island and national competitions.
Last year, five South Canterbury teams competed on the national stage at the National Jump Jam Challenge, with Highfield Hawks finishing second in the years 7 and 8 novice teams category.