North Carolina, U.S.A. – At just 9-years-old, PaHeru Nubia-Ra is a USAG Level 5, Division 1 Men’s gymnast and a red belt in U.S. Taekwondo. Currently, PaHeru is a member of the 2019-2020 North Carolina USAG Men’s Gymnastics Elite Team which recognizes and trains young gymnasts who “show promise to represent the state of North Carolina both regionally and nationally”. He has also been named Countryside Gymnastics’ “2019 Rookie of the Year Men’s Gymnast”.
“Setting goals, working hard and staying focused are the biggest components of helping me reach my goals,” says PaHeru.
PaHeru’s mother, Traverro Harden, incorporates powerful affirmations and journaling as a part of the family’s wholistic regimen. Harden says that encouraging PaHeru to regularly write down his goals, read them out loud and view them often has been a winning strategy that has helped the young elite athlete stay focused within both gymnastics and Taekwondo. “Anytime you can set a goal, achieve it then come back to set more goals and achieve them, it’s just a snowball effect- you want to keep doing it!” states Harden.
And keep reaching his goals is exactly what PaHeru continues to do. Already this 2019-2020 competition season, PaHeru has placed 2nd All-Around at North Carolina’s Boudreaux Classic, winning silver medals in 4 events to include pommel horse, steel rings, high bar, and parallel bars. In December 2019, he was awarded the “Best Breaking” medal at the US Taekwondo Center for his gymnastics-infused breaking techniques.
Practicing 4 days a week for 3 hours each time in gymnastics and 3 days a week for 1.5 hours in Taekwondo, PaHeru’s dedication and persistence shows his level of determination and commitment to not just mastering his craft at sports but also improving his physical health. As much as PaHeru is dedicated to the physical side of sports, he’s also committed to eating healthy and staying mentally strong. “Nutrition is very important for athletes. I research what foods gymnasts need to perform well. I told my parents that I want to be a vegan because it’s healthier for my body. I also meditate at my gohonzon- it helps me when I’m feeling down or stressed”, says PaHeru.
“In July of last year, PaHeru came to us and let his dad and I know that he wants to go vegan. We’re working on having a mostly plant-based diet to help him make this goal a permanent reality,” says Harden.
Most recently, PaHeru with the help of his family, has established PaHeru Nubia-Ra Athletics, a company whose mission is to motivate youth to set personal goals, live healthy and keep a positive mindset. The 2020 goal is to help 100 children learn the power of goal setting and intentional physical activity through short presentations and fun exercise challenges led by PaHeru, the company’s junior wellness facilitator.
“If I could describe PaHeru in one word, I’d say resilient,” says Harden. “Born at 7 months old, suffering from severe asthma and eczema, being diagnosed early with developmental delays until 4 years old, he’s definitely an underdog with a Cinderella story. I think it’s important that other children who might have to go through difficulties in life understand that you can overcome and work through difficulties with the right tools and support.”
With no signs of slowing down, PaHeru has his sights set on bringing home gold in both men’s gymnastics and Taekwondo in the upcoming State Championships in March.
To stay up to date with PaHeru, visit www.paherunubiaraathletics.weebly.com or follow on Facebook at PaHeru Nubia-Ra Athletics.
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