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Stars of the future warm up in Europe for African Champs
- Updated: March 3, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
Experienced Team South Africa gymnastic coach Ilse Roets Pelser is in Europe with four of the country’s leading junior gymnasts.
This is as they prepare themselves for African Championships later this month.
‘We’re competing in Linz, Austria on Saturday,’ Roets Pelser told Road to Rio 2016 on Thursday. ‘It’s a mixed senior and junior competition which we are using for four of our juniors who will be competing at African champs in Algeria 20-27 March.
‘Caitlin Rooskrantz is our top junior here and she’s a real candidate for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympics. She is one of my best juniors to date. The other three girls are also very strong but a little less experienced. All four of these girls, together with current senior gymnasts Kirsten Beckett, Claudia Cummins and Bianca Mann can be a huge threat at the next Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.‘
There’s certainly an element of revenge leading up to African Championships! ‘In 2014 Egypt beat our junior team so we are really determined to give them a good run for their money this time round.’
The quarter of supple-limbed youngsters in Austria are Caitlin Rooskrantz (14), Naveen Daries (14), Caitlyn Kelly (14) and Paige McElligot (13).
South Africa also has representatives on the judges panel in the shape of Caroline Thompson and Mare Putter.
There’s also something of a history-making element to the SA representatives doing duty at African Championships – all nine girls host from the same club, Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre, so Algeria should really be a case of being home from home.
In the picture are (left to right): Caitlin Rooskrantz, Caitlyn Kelly, Paige McElligot and Naveen Daries