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Australia-bound . . . Gymnast Alyssa Shelton (16) has been selected to represent New Zealand at the Perth International Competition at the end of this month. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Hours of training has paid off for a Dunedin gymnast who will represent New Zealand in Australia at the end of this month.

Alyssa Shelton, of Dunedin Gymnastic Academy, was selected to compete at the Perth International competition from August 30 to September 2 after competing in the CSG Classic last month.

Her selection came after she finished first overall after day one of the two-day trial in Christchurch.

Gymnasts from around the country competed on four apparatus each day – vault, bar, beam and floor – and six from each step were selected to represent New Zealand.

Shelton said she was brought to tears when she found out she was one of them.

“My goal was to make a New Zealand team,” she said.

This will be her first time at the competition, so she is unsure of what to expect.

“I have no clue what I am going into.

“I just want to do my best routines while I am there.”

The Otago Girls’ High School pupil took up the sport when she was 3 years old, and started competing when she was 5.

She now trains 18 hours a week over five days, focusing on a different apparatus each day while also working on her fitness and conditioning.

When asked how she stayed motivated to train, she said when she is not in the gym, she misses it.

“It’s [a] challenge but also really rewarding.”

Head coach Carmel Leslie said gymnasts had to be determined and committed, as there were a lot of challenges in the sport.

“All the gymnasts here at that level are like that,” she said.

Leslie has coached Shelton since she was 8, and said her selection was a great accolade.

“It’s pretty gruelling, but great when they make teams like this.

“It’s a pretty great reward for all the heartache and sacrifice.”