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Two SA gymnastics judges for 2012 Games
- Updated: July 23, 2012
No South African gymnast will be competing at the 2012 London Olympics but two South African officials have headed off to London to judge at the Games.
Annette Nel from the Western Cape will be judging Rhythmic Gymnastics, with Robert Liefeldt from Pretoria judging Men’s Artistic Gymnastics.
The honour bestowed upon both judges by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to judge at the London Olympics is a tremendous one, with South African judges not having as many opportunities locally to judge at this highest level as do their international counterparts. Therefore, for both to be selected by the FIG is a great achievement, attesting to the quality and integrity of their judging skills.
Judging at any Olympic Games is no mean task, with the difference between performances of gymnasts at Olympic level being a miniscule one, with only small errors by gymnasts being the difference between winning a medal and not. There is great pressure on judges to provide as accurate scoring as possible. As a result, both Annette and Robert have been preparing (just as hard as athletes) to be ‘ready’ for the Olympics.
Both judges are not new to the Olympic scene however. In Annette’s case, she was previously chosen to judge Rhythmic Gymnastics as one of the pool judges at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Likewise, Robert attended the Athens Olympics in 2004 as a Technical Assistant on High Bar.
In addition, both have been invited over the years to judge at a numerous World Cups, Grand Prix and International Competitions, building up their international experience and knowledge base, which will aid them to judge at the London Olympics. Annette also had the opportunity to judge at the London Olympics Test Event early in January this year.
Said Annette, ÔÇ£I feel ready to do my best, to prepare via videos as best I can and to give each gymnast my honest score according to her abilities. I am watching videos every evening, judging and getting my eyes trained.ÔÇØ
In the Rhythmic event, Annette will be one of a panel of 12 judges, judging both individual and group competitions. There will be 24 individual gymnasts completing 4 apparatus, with 10 groups competing 2 apparatus. In the Men’s Artistic Event, Robert will judge as Reference Judge.
Both judges are hugely appreciative that the FIG has given them this great opportunity to judge at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The South African Gymnastics Federation in turn is proud to be represented by these two judges, and wishes them well at the London Olympics.