Of the 11,500 competitors at this year’s AIMS Games in Tauranga, one young athlete’s schedule stands out above the rest.
Hayley Cornwall from Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School is officially the busiest kid at the annual highlight of the sporting calendar for New Zealand’s intermediate schools, with 10 events crammed into five days.
But for those who know her, this should come as no surprise. Despite being a National champion in triathlon, the 12-year-old’s never been tempted to specialise in her favoured sport. Instead she fills every waking moment with as wide a range of codes as you could hope for.
Cycling, cricket, swimming, softball, touch and rippa rugby, cross country, track and field, netball, soccer, mountain biking – all in the last year alone.
As the national spotlight goes on how young is too young to put kiwi kids on the high performance pathway, Hayley’s refreshing desire to participate rather than focus on high-end achievement is a timely story to tell.