11 May 2016. The South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) has received official confirmation from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) regarding final selection of gymnasts for participation at the Rio Olympic Games 2016.
The SAGF has two Artistic gymnasts who have qualified according to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) criteria, that of Ryan Patterson (22) and Claudia Cummins (20). It is official, Ryan Patterson will be attending the Rio Olympic Games as he has met all the SASCOC criteria set for direct qualification. Sadly, Claudia Cummins has not been selected to attend the Rio Olympic Games as she has only attained a continental placing and has not met all the SASCOC criteria required for direct qualification to the Games.
As per SAGF CEO Mr Tseko Mogotsi, “It is a bitter sweet moment for the federation. On the one hand we are overjoyed with Ryan’s direct qualification and would like to congratulate him and his coaching staff for his selection which resulted from his performances at the Rio Test Event. On the other hand, we are sad for Claudia who has qualified for a continental placing, but has not met all of SASCOC’s qualifying criteria to be able to attend the Games”.
Both gymnasts have come a long way in progressing up the ranks from their junior days, where they both participated at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. Ryan currently lives and trains in the USA where he is a final year student at the Berkely University of California. He has shot up the ranks the past two years, placing highest Africa qualifier at the 2015 World Championships, qualifying for the Rio Olympic Test Event and obtaining direct qualification for the Rio Olympic Games. Additionally, he brought home a silver medal on Rings at the Africa Games held in September in 2015.
Claudia has shown great maturity over the recent years. Her consistent performances as a senior gymnast have culminated in her continental placing following the 2015 World Championships, finishing second highest Africa qualifier. Her most recent achievements saw her attain second overall at the Africa Games in September 2015, bringing home six medals at the Africa Championships in March 2016, as well as securing South Africa’s best Artistic Result at a Universiade Competition, that of 12th place. Her incredible work ethic displayed has been a good example for juniors to emulate.
Ryan’s selection onto Team South Africa will be a momentous occasion for SAGF, with his participation set to be the first time in which a South African Men’s Artistic Gymnast will participate at an Olympic Games since South Africa’s readmission to International competition. South Africa has had a Women’s Artistic Gymnast participate at an Olympic Games in 2004.
The federation would like to commend Ryan and his USA coaches Jonathan Okada and Dave Eaton in achieving this fantastic result for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics, as well as coaches Ilse Laing, Shirley Watson and Glen Hlongwane for the instrumental role they have played in Claudia’s successes and achievements.
In addition to one gymnast attending the Rio Olympic Games, the federation will also have representation by two judges, that of Paddy Chadwick (KZN) in the Women’s Artistic Competition and Jannie Jansen van Vuuren (FS) in the Men’s Artistic Competition and would additionally like to congratulate them on their selection to officiate at this prestigious event.