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Matome, Natalie’s trophy

South African mixed pair acro gymnasts Matome Tshishonga and Natalie Friesling stole the show at the annual Gutenberg International Cup in Germany at the weekend, set their personal best score and was awarded the trophy for the highest score of the event.

“The SA Gymnastics Federation set a score of 79 for us, but we easily achieved 83.120. Now for Cape Town in a weeks’ time and then our goal is to qualify for the finals of the 2012 World championships,” Tshishonga said.

He said that when he saw the Dutch duo who beat them at the previous world championships, they were determined not to make any mistakes.

“My other four gymnasts also achieved their personal best scores and I am extremely pleased with their progress over the past four years,” Natalia von Willigh, the coach said.

According to Von Willigh, she entered nine-year-old Caitlyn Kelly and 12 year-old Cheslyn Glade in the 11-16 section  to expose them to competitive gymnastics as they have no comeptition in South Africa.

“To see them on the podium with as silver medal against older gymnasts, was great. It was our first overseas trip as a club and we did not come here for a holiday, but to compete and the gymnasts did that extremely well,” she said.

Antoaneta Kiselichka, head of the judging panel said that they were stunned with the standard of the six gymnasts from South Africa.

“Their African choreography, skills and music were a huge hit with us and also the spectators. Matome’s emotional and passionate dancing and performing for the audience will be remembered long after the competition is over,” she said.

Twenty two of the club’s gymnasts will be in action at the Belville Velodrome on 3-4 October in the South Africa national championships.


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