Gymnast leaps at chance to pursue dream

Gymnast and former Whanganui High School student Millie Manning will depart soon for the Ollerup school in Denmark.

Whanganui Boy's and Girls' Gym Club prodigy Millie Manning will be the latest club member to take up the Ollerup scholarship this month.

Manning, a medal winner in gymsport both on the national stage and internationally for New Zealand development squads, will soon depart for 10 months to join the prestigious 'Gymnastikefterskole' in Denmark.

An 'efterskole' is a boarding school which exists between high school and university where students can pursue their interests in a gap year.

The annual Whanganui scholarship is awarded to a gym club member aged between 18-30 who has shown all around commitment to the club, from competing to coaching.

Briar Limpus went last year, while the scholarship was unfilled in 2015 without an appropriate candidate.

The Whanganui club has had an affiliation with Ollerup for the better part of three decades.

"I have always wanted to go to Ollerup ever since I was a very young gymnast at the age of 8," said Manning.

"I thank Jens and Karen [Bukholt] so much for this incredible opportunity that I know I'll make the most of, and enjoy big time."

Manning, 18, is a 10 year veteran of artistic gymnastics, having represented New Zealand three times including in Singapore and Hawaii.

Earlier this year she tore ligaments in her right elbow, and being unable to compete for three months she stayed heavily involved by coaching the competitive seniors squad before resuming personal training.

Manning has worked four different jobs leading up to her departure for Denmark, which included being a sports model for photographer Roberta Thornley, with the work being exhibited at the Sarjeant Art Gallery.

"The scholarship I received last year covers the main tuition fee [accommodation, food and classes] so things like flights, Visa, transport, books etc are self-funded."

Manning will be studying up to seven subjects at Ollerup, most of them being practical-based.

"My timetable basically consists of gymnastics, dance, outdoor activities, intercultural studies, project studies, leadership work, Danish language and more gymnastics.

"I've done a lot of research on Denmark and other places in Europe too. Europe is probably my favourite place so can't wait to live there for almost a while year."

Manning will arrive back home in June next year.

By Staff Reporter
Wanganui Chronicle 11/7/17