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Why Hayley’s the most active athlete at AIMS

If there’s one thing Hayley Cornwall can’t stand, it’s downtime.

While many 12-year-olds look for the chance for screen time, Hayley has an inability to sit still.

“I dunno, I just find it boring. I like being on my feet," Hayley shrugs with a smile. ”I just like too many sports I guess.”

Which explains why the Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School (PNINS) student stacked her schedule at this week’s AIMS Games in Tauranga.

Of the more than 11,500 girls and boys taking part in the annual highlight of the sporting calendar for New Zealand intermediate schools, Hayley Cornwall is officially the busiest of them all.

With a combination of individual and relay races across cross country, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, multisport and mountain biking, Hayley has taken part in 10 events over five days.

That statistic even took her ever-supportive father, AJ, by surprise. “Yeah I was quite shocked, but she can easily cope with it because she just loves to be involved.”

Of all the events, Hayley was most excited about multisport. When she says she’s into multisport, she really means ‘multi’ sport.

She’s got more clubs to her name than your average professional golfer has in his bag. This year alone, she’s competed in cricket, cycling, cross country, triathlon, mountain biking, swimming, touch and rippa rugby, softball, soccer and netball.

What makes her huge list of activities even more impressive is Hayley could easily be one of those kids who just sticks to what they’re good at.

Hayley dreams of becoming a professional triathlete, a sport in which she is the best in the country for her age.

As PNINS sports coordinator Chris Sanson explains: “She went to national [triathlon] champs this year and beat all the boys, so that was pretty cool.”

But Hayley and her parents, AJ and Leteia, aren’t interested in her specialising too young. “We reinforce that effort is the most important thing as opposed to winning.  If you can just work on your effort, no matter what happens, it doesn’t matter. If you get to the finish line and you’ve given it your best, that’s enough.”

Hayley came second in the Year 8 girls’ multisport race, but it’s the experience - not the medal - that she will value most.

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