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SA gymnasts in Scotland, looking to seal 2016 Olympic spots

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By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s gymnastics are trying their utmost to be part of Team South Africa at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
And all three will be hoping to take the momentum of a successful African Games campaign in Congo onwards and upwards at the World Artistic Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Championships get underway on Friday and continue through to 1 November.
And Kirsten Beckett, Claudia Cummins and Bianca Mann will be all too familiar with the SSE Hydro venue… it was the same venue where the three strutted their stuff at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
The importance of these championships can’t be overstated as this is the first step to Olympic qualification and the best SA gymnast at these championships looks likely to qualify for the Olympic test event in Rio next  April.
South Africa came close to qualifying a gymnast for the 2012 Olympics in London when Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre (JGC) member Ashleigh Heldsinger managed a continental qualification. Heldsinger has since emigrated to Melbourne, Australia.
Says SA coach at world champs, Ilse Roets-Pelser: ‘The goal for Rio 2016 is to qualify a gymnast outright as per the SASCOC criteria set out. If an artistic gymnast achieves this, it will be the first time since 2004 that an artistic gymnast will compete at the Olympics.
She went on to tell Road to Rio 2016: ‘Kirsten Beckett, who has come off a recent win at the African Games, together with her teammates, is looking good.
‘The standard of competition will be extremely high, but we are up for the challenge.’
Roets-Pelser is attending an incredible ninth World Championships, three as a gymnast herself and her sixth in a coaching capacity. And even she continues to be bowled over by the talent on show!
Just watching the gymnasts train over the weekend she was impressed enough to say: ‘Honestly think this is the best gymnastics I have ever seen and its my ninth Worlds, so I have something to compare it to!’
Hopefully the South Africans on show at these championships will be right up there with the best.


1 comments
Wendy Bertuolo
Wendy Bertuolo

Good luck to all of you! Will be holding thumbs.