Following on from 10 minutes with Mary Anne Monckton, we spoke with current Australian Junior Kiara Munteanu. Kiara, based in Melbourne, is the current Junior All Around Victorian Champion and the silver All Around Champion at the Australian Championships this year. Previously in 2011 she was first All Around in the Victorian Championships and 3rd All Around in the Australian Championships. In 2011 she also competed in the international competition, the Vitaly Scherbo Invitational in Las Vegas, here she placed 2nd in AA and floor and first on bars and vault. Come January, Kiara will turn senior and hopes to make her mark on the international stage for Australia.
Check her out on beam and floor below from last year’s Victorian Championships:
Kiara, when and why did you start gymnastics?
I started gymnastics when I was 4 at Niddrie Gymnastics Club. I started because I had so much energy all the time and mum wanted to tire me out so she took me to the local gym.
What is your weekly schedule at the moment in terms of training and education?
My weekly schedule at the moment is training 2 sessions on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7 – 10:15 am 3:30 -6:40 pm . I go to school in the middle of the days the days I have double sessions , the gym bus takes us and picks us up to bring us back for the second session. On Wednesdays ,Fridays and Saturday’s we have single session from 1:30 till 5 and Saturday 8 am to 12 pm on the single session days we go to school in the morning until the middle of the day .
Who would be your gymnastics idols and why?
I don’t really have an idol but the Australian Olympic team would be one, all the girls are my idols and I want to achieve what they have achieved, especially because some come from my training centre . And some girls like Jordan Wieber,Gabby Douglas and Victoria Komova
What do you do- mentally and physically- to prepare the day of competition?
I have a positive attitude and mind set about the competition. I go into the competition knowing that I have been training hard and that I’m well prepared. I will just try to do my best no matter what happens.
What, if anything, does your coach always have to remind you about?
Tracey Penaluna tells me to point my feet and Misha Barabach tells me to keep my heels together. Our Dance and Artistry Coach, Lisa Bradley, always talks to me about my posture and line and our Acrobatics coach Melic Tichabaev encourages me to use my power to be dynamic in my tumbling and vaulting.
What are your workout tips for those tough days in the gym?
Always keep a positive attitude. Times can get tough, but just push on knowing you can always get something positive out of a session. This is what will help you to achieve.
You have had some great results in your Junior career so far, what would be the highlight of your career to date?
Australian championships 2012 placing 2nd all around in the Junior International Division .
Can you describe how you felt when you were named to the National team as a Junior?
At first I couldn’t believe it but then I was just so excited and happy and couldn’t wait for what was next to come.
What is your favourite part of being a gymnast?
You get so much out of being a gymnast but some of my favorite things are learning new skills ,achieving the goals I set and travelling to compete at some great competitions around the world.
What has been the most difficult skill to learn so far?
I am working really hard on my releases on bars and trying to make some connections between then.
Your long term goal at the moment is the 2016 Rio Olympic Games but what other shorter term goals do you have?
Medalling at the 2013 Australian championships, I will be a Senior next years, so this would be a good achievement. I would also like to be chosen to represent Australia as part of the National Team.
What are your plans specifically for the 2012-2013 competition season? Are there any competitions you hope to attend? Or are there any new skills you are looking to achieve?
My main focus at the moment is building my skill level. With the new code, I am working hard on different combinations and skills to build my D score. I am working on arabian on beam and jaeger on bars, and would like to add those skills to my routines throughout 2013. We will have our National Championships in the middle of the year, so there might be an opportunity to attend an International competition in the first 6 months, but the main focus at the moment is building a program to be competitive with the rest of the world.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Kiara turn Senior and see what great new excitement she can bring to Australian gymnastics. Best of luck Kiara and thank you for taking the time to chat.
Previously in this series: