Vandals damage Aiea gym, jeopardize gymnastics event - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Vandals damage Aiea gym, jeopardize gymnastics event

Kiana Palin Kiana Palin
Tamara Rapp Tamara Rapp

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some of Hawaii's top young gymnasts have run into something tougher than a Russian judge.

Vandals broke into a gym and did so much damage an upcoming gymnastics competition is in jeopardy.

Every year the Hawaiian Island Twisters host a competition called Gymnastics in Paradise. The competition gives local girls the opportunity to test their skills against teams from Canada, Japan, Australia, and the U.S. mainland.

The event also serves as a stepping stone to bigger more prestigious events.

"It's important to me because this is the first meet of the season. We had our mock meet here, but this is the one that counts and I want to see how I'm going to be placed in all the other meets," said 12 year old gymnast Kiana Palin.

"It's also important because it shows the other teams, the other states, the other countries what we can do," added 15 year old gymnast Tamara Rapp.

But the Twisters have run into a hurdle they did not expect. The building where the event was scheduled to be held is closed.

Vandals broke into Aiea District Park in early November.

They tossed paint and toilet paper around. And they turned on fire hoses flooding the floor.

They city is using large flans to ventilate the wooden floor. It is hoping to get the moisture out without having to replace the floor. But it is a long slow process.

The gym may not open for a couple more months.

"We have contacted about every place we can possibly imagine. And we've put out over 300 emails to friends and family people in the gym to try and come up with a venue that is large enough that we can still host the competition. No luck so far," said Joe Rapp, Hawaiian Island Twisters Executive Director and Head Coach.

Rapp told Hawaii News Now any gym 100 feet long and 70 feet wide will do. Even a clean warehouse will suffice.

The Twisters have insurance that will cover the event wherever it is held.

But time is running out.

Gymnastics in Paradise is just two weekends away.

If the Twisters do not find another venue soon, they will have to hold the competition in their own gym. Their gym is great for practice, but it does not meet the requirements needed for competition. That means results could not be used in qualifying for state, regional, or national teams. And local gymnasts will have missed out on one of the few opportunities they have all year to showcase their talent.

Anyone that can offer assistance is asked to call the Hawaiian Island Twisters at 839-4494.

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