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Hyperzine talked to two of our athletes who will compete at Kuala Lumpur
Alethea Boon and Steven Ferguson

Alethea Boon

Alethea Boon is the youngest New Zealand athlete going to the Commonwealth Games.

But despite being two years younger than her fellow gymnasts, 14 year old Alethea says it doesn't make any difference. The gymnastic team all train together and enjoy friendly competition.

Alethea has already represented New Zealand at a number of international competitions, including the Australian Champs, the Junior Pacific Alliance and the Canberrra Cup. She was very happy to be selected for the Commonwealth Games, but she knows that she has a lot of hard work ahead of her.

The beam and vault are Alethea's best apparatus, and she has been practising her routine for a long time with coach Vladimir Shorinov.

Alethea started doing gym when she was eight, after seeing gymnast Nicky Jenkins on TV and thinking that it looked like fun. She joined a local gym club and found that she did really enjoy it.

Now that she is a member of the New Zealand High Performance Squad, training takes up a lot of her time four hours every day except Sunday to be exact! She does a bit of singing and acting as well, but doesn't have time for other sports.

The Games are her focus at the moment. She's getting there with the help of Westfield NZ, St Lukes and New Zealand Gymnastics, and her mother and sister hope to be able to accompany her.

The team visited Kuala Lumpur in July, when the facilities weren't quite finished, and will go back for the Games on September 4th. The heat won't be much of a problem as the gymnasium is air conditioned.

As for beyond the Commonwealth Games, Alethea would like to compete at the next Olympics, but her longer term goal is to win a scholarship to Utah State University in the USA, where she would like to study either law or physiotherapy at the same time as continuing her gymnastics training.


Kuala Lumpur will be Steven Ferguson's first Commonwealth Games, but he's no stranger to competition.

Steven competed in the "nippers" surf life saving races when he was five and has been swimming competitively since he was ten. He became the national backstroke champion when he was 11 and has been the national age breast-stroke champ since he was 12.

In January this year, Steven represented New Zealand at the world swimming championships in Perth, where he gained a personal best even though he was not in the best of health. Now, he's aiming to bring home a medal from Kuala Lumpur.

It was pretty hot when he competed in Perth, but Kuala Lumpur, being closer to the Equator, will be even hotter. In preparation for this Steven has been exercising in a heat chamber and will make sure he drinks plenty of water and stays out of the sun. The New Zealand swimming team will spend ten days in Brunei acclimatising before the Games.

Steven's coach is Jan Cameron, and he says that, while sometimes she can be strict, she's a very good and experienced coach and his club, North Shore, is the best in New Zealand. He's also lucky to have the support of his dad, canoeist Ian Ferguson, who gives him advice about how to prepare for competition. Steven says his dad has never put any pressure on him, and they compete against each other in a friendly way.

The Ferguson family won't be in Kuala Lumpur with Steven, but they'll be supporting him from their home in Auckland. Their business, "Ferg's Kayaks", is one of Steven's sponsors, along with Leppin Nutrition and Leader Sports.

Steven will be with the swimming team, who are all good friends, and keeping his mind focussed on that medal. As for the future, he wants to keep swimming competitively and hopes to be at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.

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