Sunshine Coast gymnasts shine again

STAFF REPORTER

SUNSHINE Coast Gymnastics Club was delighted to receive notification that all of their competitive artistic gymnasts qualified for Nationals this year.

“This means that 100% of the gymnasts who committed to compete this year actually achieved their Eastern Cape colours in artistic gymnastics,” said an excited head coach, Carol-Ann Stiekema.

“This is a first for our little club and we are so very proud of all of our gymnasts! Gymnastics is a tough sport – and it is truly remarkable that all of our competitive gymnasts achieved their colours this year.”

TOWERING PRIDE: The Sunshine Coast Gymnastic Club artistic gymnasts who attended Nationals in Cape Town last month were (from front) Lara-Bella Schmidt, Lauren Maddocks, Romy Alexandre and Kym Anderson, who achieved a gold ribbon – a first for the club Picture: PENNY MADDOCKS

Stiekema explained artistic gymnastics “Nationals” are split into three different competitions, based on levels. The first “Nationals” is for levels 1-3, and was held in Cape Town, at the Swartklip Indoor Centre on September 15-16.

The gymnasts who qualified to enter this competition (and therefore for their Eastern Cape Colours) were Lauren Maddocks, Jessica Harty, Danielle Steyn, Lara-Bella Schmidt, Kim Waters and Kym Anderson – all in Level 1, and Romy Alexandre and Taryn Lee in Level 2.

“Congratulations to this awesome little team of gymnasts, who have been working very diligently throughout the year,” said Stiekema. “Unfortunately not all of the gymnasts were able to actually travel to Cape Town to participate in the competition.”

The South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) offers a different reward system for Level 1 – 3 artistic gymnasts, Stiekema said.

Every participant receives a medal, regardless of results achieved. Level 1’s all receive a bronze medal – however this does not mean that they came third. Each participant then receives a graded ribbon, (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) depending on their total score.

The gymnast who places 1st on each individual apparatus, as well as the all around winner, all receive a “goodie-bag”.

“While this system encourages the majority of children, it has, however discouraged the top-end achievers,” said Stiekema.

The old system used to give everybody a participation certificate and the top three on each apparatus as well as the top three all around received appropriate medals.

FOCUSED: Lauren Maddocks on beam at South Zone artistic Nationals in Cape Town Picture: PENNY MADDOCKS

“Every four years SAGF relooks at their systems and upgrades accordingly.” Stiekema explained. “The drafts for 2013 onward are starting to come through now, and is appears as if vaulting will be changing completely going forward.”

This year all the gymnasts had to do two vaults, one of which was a “skill” vault. From next year the skill vault is being dropped from the system entirely.

“Some people feel this is not a good thing, as it will reduce the vaulting quality even further. Naturally each coach can continue to train their gymnasts according to the skill vault system – but the gymnasts will not compete these skill vaults at competitions in future.”

Stiekema said the competition at South Zone was “incredibly stiff – which is a great motivator for all gymnasts”.

“As a club, we were very pleased with the results from the four gymnasts who travelled down to Cape Town with their families.”

All Level 1’s received a bronze medal:

Lara-Bella Schmidt (7/u) Level 1: Floor 8.55, SV 3.6, Vault 8.3, Beam 7.7, Bars 9.1 (20th position). Silver ribbon achieved.

Lauren Maddocks (7/u) Level 1: SV 3.2, Vault 8.4, Beam 7.8, Bars 8.7, Floor 8.8 (39th position). Silver ribbon achieved.

Kym Anderson (8 yrs) Level 1: SV 3.8, Vault 9 (8th position), Beam 9, Bars 8.2, Floor 9.2 (4th position). Gold ribbon achieved.

All Level 2’s received a silver medal:

Romy Alexandre (8yrs) Level 2: SV 3.75, Vault 7.05, Beam 7.7, Bars 6.2, Floor 8.2 (26th position). Bronze ribbon achieved.

“Once again I would like to thank the Lord for His provision,” said Stiekema. “I would also like to thank the parents for supporting their kids in their gymnastics. Thanks also to assistant coach Belinda Oosthuizen who works with a few of the gymnasts twice a week, on a volunteer basis.”

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