Plett gymnasts reaching for the stars
Two young gymnasts are flying the Plettenberg Bay flag high as they compete in the 2017 SA Gym Games in Pretoria this week.
Leolin Petersen (11) and Carmen Swiegers (16) started their competition journey on Tuesday 3 October and will compete until Saturday.
“They have been working hard all year and this competition is where they get to see the fruits of their labour,” said Carmen’s mother Coba on their way to the competition.
For both gymnasts this has been a long and challenging journey. Leolin started her gymnastics career at the tender age of three and has many titles under the belt.
She received her Western Cape colours in three disciplines – trampoline, tumbling and artistic – in August this year.
“Leolin has achieved and dedicated her life to her sport,” said her mother Helen Bezuidenhout from Pretoria this week. From 2011 until this year Leolin had received SWD colours in various disciplines and last year became the tumbling national champion. She also placed second in artistic and Euro trampoline and third in minitrampoline.
Leolin’s family have had to make many sacrifices, as her club is based in George and she has to travel with a lift for training and then back again with another lift. Because of this she can only train once a week, yet still manages to excel in her sport.
“She is looking forward to the week’s competition,” her mom said.
Carmen has also competed successfully in various competitions over the years, with the most recent being the 2016 SA Gym Games where she achieved a first place in tumbling and Euro trampoline.
She was also selected to represent South Africa at the International Region 5 competition which was held in Zimbabwe in December last year, where she achieved a silver medal for Euro trampoline and a bronze for double minitrampoline.
She also participated in the Western Cape gymnastics trials in August, when she secured first in the double mini-trampoline, Euro trampoline and second in tumbling.
Swiegers said they, too, had made many sacrifices to get Carmen to this level.
The sport is very costly and has to be funded by the gymnasts and their parents themselves. Swiegers said the estimated expenditure for the year already amounted to about R27 500, which includes gym fees, competitions and travelling.
Participating at the national championships would set each gymnast back more than R10 000.
“Our children work hard and really enjoy participating, so we try our best to make sure they are able to,” Swiegers said.
Should anyone wish to assist the two youngsters, Bezuidenhout can be contacted on 060 648 0407 and Swiegers on 083 6601 208.
Carmen Swiegers (16) is participating in national gymnastic championships in Pretoria this week.
Leolin Petersen (11) is another young rising star who is taking part in the 2017 SA Gym Games in Pretoria until 7 October.