P­lett gym­nas­ts re­a­ching for the stars

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Sport - Yo­lan­dé S­tan­der

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.

P­ho­tos: Sup­p­lied

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.

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