The 20th Commonwealth Games takes place at Glasgow, Scotland, 25 July – 02 August 2014.
Team South Africa, to take part at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, will feature 10 gymnasts across the three gymnastics disciplines of Men’s Artistic, Women’s Artistic and Rhythmic. Gymnasts selected to represent South Africa are:
Men’s Artistic: Cameron Mackenzie (GAU-21), Tiaan Grobler (GAU-20), Siphamandla Ngoco (KZN-24), Siphesihle Biyase (KZN-23)
Women’s Artistic: Kirsten Beckett (GAU-18); Claudia Cummins (GAU–19); Bianca Mann (GAU-19)
Rhythmic Gymnastics: Grace Legote (NW-22); Aimee van Rooyen (GAU-19); Julene van Rooyen (GAU-20)
Team Manager: Ilse Laing (Manager and coach)
Coaches: Tatiana Lavrentchouk-Vizer, Jesse Abraham Kitzen-Abelson
As per SAGF CEO, Elizabeth Cameron Smith, “The current selection of 10 gymnasts is a positive step forward for the sport. All gymnasts who have qualified as per SASCOC’s strict criteria have been selected, which is very encouraging for our gymnasts and coaches”. Gymnasts had to achieve a top five Commonwealth ranking in Individual All-round or Apparatus to qualify.
South’s Africa’s representation at the previous Games in Delhi saw only 3 gymnasts participate. With 10 gymnasts set to compete, this increases medal chances and there will be sufficient numbers to enter in all 3 discipline team categories.
The Games will see 37 medals up for grabs by any one nation in the gymnastics competition. This comprises 11 medals in Rhythmic, 11 medals in Women’s Artistic and 15 medals in Men’s Artistic; due to a maximum of 2 medals per country per category rule.
South African gymnasts Commonwealth track record sees 7 medals attained over the past 4 Commonwealths, attesting to the strong competitive nature of the Commonwealth countries in the sport of gymnastics. Jennifer Khwela was the last medal recipient, winning silver in the Vault apparatus final in Delhi 2010. Simon Hutcheon has been the only gymnast to win Gold for gymnastics, having achieved this for Vault in Kuala Lumpur 1998.
Apparatus medal hopefuls in Glasgow will be 2014 Africa Champions, Grace Legote in Rhythmic and Kirsten Beckett in Artistic Women, however there might be other few surprises on the cards. Grace will be looking to win the first the ever Rhythmic Commonwealth medal for South Africa. On a lighter note, the team features two sisters on the team, namely Julene and Aimee van Rooyen.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games will see first time participation for all 10 gymnasts selected. Gaining Commonwealth Games experience will bode well for the gymnasts as they look ahead to Rio 2016.
The official event website for the games are http://www.glasgow2014.com/