Emmett Rahiri of Champions Gymnastics may be only nine years old but he is fully aware of his place in club history.
Through it all, he tries to maintain a balance and keep everything in perspective.
Competing in the Level 1 8-9 category, his performance this season marks Champions return to the men’s competitive circuit in Ontario after a 20-year absence. The son of Malcolm and Kelly Rahiri has been in gymnastics for seven years and is in his first year of eligibility in the provincial competitive stream, where he has done very well.
“I do think about it sometimes but really I just want to be a good gymnast,” he said. “I just love gymnastics because you don’t rely on other people. You rely on yourself. And you try to improve yourself. I really like it because it helps with flexibility and strength.”
Constance Martineau, who has been coaching Rahiri for two years, said that there has been a recent rise in boy’s gymnastics, with 15 other young men part of the club program.
“It is good to see it grow,” she said. “Emmett is a mature nine-year-old and it has been great to see him do so well. He is confident and focussed. He is self-driven.”
The high-ranked Rahiri, seems to be getting better each time out.
After placing third in his first Ontario Cup in December, he finished first overall at the second meet in Bracebridge, beating out 65 other athletes, last month. He finished first on floor, rings, parallel bars, high bar and vault and fifth on pommel horse, or mushroom.
His next Cup event is in Mississauga Sunday and he and Martineau have their sights set on the Ontario championships in Windsor from April 9 to 12, when 66 boys altogether will compete.
“The high bar is my favourite because I like to swing around,” he said with a smile. “I have been training hard and working on improving all my skills.”
Showing commitment and dedication, he trains four days a week, totalling 11 hours.
It is a family affair as older sister Elyse and younger broth Regen are also members of Champions.
Emmett, a Grade 4 student at Monseigneur-Jamot school, was born in Thunder Bay, and later moved to Bracebridge where he started gymnastics in the Parents and Tots program. The family moved to Peterborough four years ago.
He also likes rugby, fencing, squash and swimming.
Gymnastics remains his favourite.
“I like everything about it and want to keep doing it for a long time,” he said.