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SA trio gear up for World Championships in Glasgow
- Updated: October 22, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
It’s all systems go in Glasgow for South Africa’s trio of three gymnasts as the World Artistic Gymnastics get underway on Friday.
The three athletes have been part of the national set-up for some time now and represented South Africa at both last year’s Commonwealth Games at the same SSE Scottish Hydro Venue.
They also did their stuff at the recent African Games in Brazzaville, Congo where the gymnastics squad brought home 15 medals.
Friday sees the opening ceremony and the start of the qualifying rounds with South Africa (under the coaching guidance of ex-international Ilse Roets-Pelser) in action on Saturday.
Road to Rio 2016 caught up with the talented trio on the eve of competition.
Said Bianca Mann, whose sister was also part of Team SA in Congo: ”Training has gone according to plan since we have been here and luckily there has been no injuries!
‘There is a nice positive team vibe and we’re all really excited for the next few days of training before competition on Saturday! Podium training went well on Tuesday so I’m hoping to use that momentum going forward! We’re all hoping for a good clean competition with no falls, and very excited to be back in Glasgow competing in the hydro again!’
On to Kirsten Becket, a gold medal winner in Brazzaville and showing no ill effects after shoulder surgery last year. ‘Training has been going well since Congo. My shoulder has been feeling good, looks like it’s recovered really well since surgery. My expectations for worlds are just to have a clean comp and hopefully come out on top out of all the African countries and qualify for the Olympic test event.
‘It feels good to be back in Glasgow. We’re already familiar with the setup of the hall and the hall we’re competing in. And it also feels good to be back here with the same team we came to Commonwealth with.’
And Claudia Cummins concluded: ‘Since Congo we got straight off the plane and right back into the gym! I’ve been training hard… as well as getting my studies under control,’ said the second-year sports psychology student.
‘Ilse has been running in and out of the gym at any time possible that I can squeeze a training session in between my studies. It has been a tough one but we have pushed hard. And here we are in Glasgow – training with Kirsten and Bianca has been awesome, we support each other and make a strong team.
‘Worlds is definitely one of my favourite comps and I would like to go out there and just do the best I’m capable of doing and smile all the way through, something which will definitely be possible with the help of coach Ilse.’