Beckett bags three golds and overall title at nationals | SASCOC - SASCOC

Beckett bags three golds and overall title at nationals

The country’s top gymnasts beamed, floored, barred and vaulted their way through the weekend at the national championships in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, writes Mark Etheridge.

Central Gauteng Gymnastics’ Kirsten Beckett took overall women’s honours with the little teenager winning the national seniors title for the second year running.

She took gold in three events ÔÇô vault, floor and bar ÔÇô and fifth spot on the beam. Clubmate Claudia Cummins and Bianca Mann ended second and third respectively.

Up for grabs were places at the World Championships for the seniors in Belgium in September, while the youngsters (Juniors and pre-Juniors) were aiming at earning places at the Top Gym (Belgium), Leverkusen Cup (Germany) and Rose Bowl (England) events.

Friday and Saturday’s results acted as qualifying events with 60% of their best day scores and 40% of their worst day combined for qualification. A combined total all-round score of 49.00 is the minimum qualification score.

Beckett totalled scores of 52.70 and 53.80 over the two days with Claudia Cummins getting 50.50 and 50.05 and Nicole Szabo (48.80 and 51.00). This trio look likely candidates for the World Championships while Alessandra Thompson seems the obvious candidate for the Top Gym event.

There were initial illness worries for Becket ahead of the competition. “I had picked up flu on the Wednesday so I was a bit scared but I really wanted to compete,” Beckett told Road to Rio 2016 on Tuesday. “I didn’t place on the beam, had a bit of a mess-up.

“Next up is a World Cup in Croatia and then it’s World Champs in Belgium.”

In the men’s competition, the top two finishers were from America and Great Britain respectively while the top three South African finishers were Michael Makings, Tiaan Grobler and Sihisihle Biyase.