Beckett makes two finals in Qatar Cup event | SASCOC - SASCOC

Beckett makes two finals in Qatar Cup event

South Africa’s top women’s gymnast Kirsten Beckett took her first steps to Rio 2016 by qualifying for two apparatus finals at the World Challenge Cup in Doha, Qatar at the weekend, writes Wessel Oosthuizen.

She qualified for both the vault and floor finals, where the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games silver medallist finished fifth for her floor routine and in seventh place in the vault event. Claudia Cummins also took part in the event.

With the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC’s) stringent qualifications standards for both the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, it is clear that only Beckett has a realistic chance to qualify in the women’s artistic gymnastics event.

Unlike marathon runners who could line up as unknowns and finish as Olympic champions or boxers who may land a lucky punch, it takes eight years and more to prepare an Olympic gymnast.

Instead of “spreading” money as in the past on programmes which lead to a situation where only SA officials and no gymnasts were represented at the London 2012 Olympic Games, resources will hopefully be channeled to those very few individuals who could make the strict qualification requirements.

Beckett must now knocking at SASCOC’s Operation Excellence door for ┬áresources in order for her to compete and train internationally and concentrate to get an acceptable world ranking.

“At the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, South Africa’s men’s gymnasts won four medals, one gold, but since gymnastics has disappeared from the scene and hopefully Kirsten Beckett can be the start of the sport’s revival,” Gideon Sam, SASCOC president said.