Gymnasts wary of big guns | SASCOC - SASCOC

Gymnasts wary of big guns

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s chances of picking up medals in the gymnastics events at next month’s Commonwealth Games in India may not lie entirely in our hands.

That’s the opinion of manager/coach Julie Adamson-Schurmann who accompanies the trio of gymnastics to New Delhi.

Explaining her reasoning, Adamson referred to Rotterdam as a real factor. “Our chances at CWG very much depend on whether the ‘big fish’ like Australia, Canada and England send their first rate team or a ‘B team’ as World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands is directly after Commonwealth so some of them may rest their top girls.

“World Champs is the first stage of team Olympic qualification with only the top 24 teams (there are 44 in total) being allowed to enter teams in next years Worlds, the other countries may only enter individuals.

“If things go as I think we have a better chance with Jennifer (Khwela) being our best medal chance for vault, (she was ranked fourth in the Commonwealth at last years Worlds on this event) and also stands an outside chance on beam and floor as well as all around, it just depends on who is sent from the other countries.”

The other two gymnasts in the team are Ashleigh Heldsinger and Sibongile Mjekula. “Ashleigh is a less likely contender but being consistent all around, she should make at least one final. Admittedly I don’t know much about Sibongile as I don’t train her personally but I suspect she has a bit more of a challenge as she might not be up against “B teams”.

Mjekula is coached by Tatiana Lavrentchouk-Vizer while Heldsinger is nurtured by Ilse Laing. Luckily for the team both these coaches will make the trip to India, Lavrentchouk-Vizer as one of the official team coaches and Laing in a personal capacity.

“As far as Jennifer is concerned, she’s been training very well the last few weeks and seems very focused on this event, I hope she performs as well as she has trained and that the girls don’t get ‘Delhi Belly’.┬á I think all the girls are excited for the trip and looking forward to the cultural experience as well as the competitions.”