Injury blow for Khwela | SASCOC - SASCOC

Injury blow for Khwela

By Mark Etheridge

An injured finger has sidelined Commonwealth silver medallist Jennifer Khwela’s immediate gymnastics progress. But the good news is that the KwaZulu-Natal teenager is expected to bounce back soon.

Since her Commonwealth silver in New Delhi, India last year, she went on to place second in the vault at World Cup events in Germany and Croatia lat last year. She also won silver on vault and floor in the SA Cup competion in December, taking third place in the all around category.

In 2011 the World cup events take on a slightly different format and there are Challenger Cups which are open to all and then World cup A events which are by invitation only.

Explaining how Khwela picked up the injury, coach Julie Adamson explained. “In the Cottbus Challenge Cup event, we arrived on the Thursday and the competition was on the Friday She competed at 10am and then again at 9.30pm. By the time we got to beam she was exhausted and had a bad fall on her dismount. She told me at the time that her hand was sore but didn’t say anything further.”

Khwela went on to compete the next day and despite being given the option to return home to get the hand treated opted to rather compete and indeed, did well to place fourth in the vault final, narrowly missing a medal. They then moved on to Berlin for three days training and the German team physio gave his opinion that Khwela’s hand was sprained and not broken.

Adamson and Khwela then moved on to Paris for a World Cup A event that featured the top eight vault gymnasts from last year’s World Champs and the top four competitors from last year’s World Cup vault ranking. Khwela did well to end fourth in qualification as well as in the final.

By this stage Adamson says she was really concerned about her charge’s hand. “The swelling hadn’t gone down so as we got back to South Africa I had a chiropractor look at it and he also doubted that it was broken but advised her to have x-rays. We did this and the results showed a diagonal break in her left ring finger’s metacarpal bone with the bones displaced slightly. We contacted a SASCOC doctor who in turn recommended an orthopaedic surgeon. He scheduled an operation which was done last Friday and the bone was plated and pinned.”

And the outcome? “She’s training in the gym, just keeping off her hand but she can already put weight on it and is doing push-ups. I’ve convinced her to rest it until we see the doctor next Monday and am hoping that we can start doing support on it after three weeks and then with impact after six weeks.

“We’re also arranging to see a biokineticist so that she can be ready for World Champs trials on 10-11 June. It’s a bit tight but we’ll make it,” assured Adamson.