Rut rocks at Youth O­lym­pi­cs

Suid-Kaap FORUM - - Voorblad -

S­TIL­BAAI With just one sai­lor on Te­am SA, the pres­su­re will be on Rut Gouws at the Youth O­lym­pic Ga­mes in Bu­e­nos Ai­res next week. But the S­til­baai ki­te­bo­ar­der seems to thri­ve un­der pres­su­re - ha­ving had to co­me through the con­ti­nen­tal qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on pro­cess, w­he­re on­ly a win was good e­nough to book her spot on the te­am. Ha­ving al­re­a­dy a­chie­ved that win in Moroc­co e­ar­lier t­his y­e­ar, he­a­ring her na­me of­fi­ci­al­ly an­noun­ced by the SA S­ports Con­fe­de­ra­ti­on and O­lym­pic Com­mit­tee (SASCOC) as part of Te­am SA was so­mething Gouws will re­mem­ber for a long ti­me. “I didn’t ha­ve words. It was just a­ma­zing and it felt li­ke all the ef­fort that has been put in is fi­nal­ly worth it and e­ver­y­bo­dy who hel­ped, got the re­ward we we­re wor­king for,” ex­plai­ned the 15-y­e­ar-old. “I just want to thank SA sai­ling, the SA Ki­te­sur­fing As­so­ci­a­ti­on, all my spon­sors and es­pe­ci­al­ly my mom and dad who hel­ped on the jour­ney to get me he­re. It’s such a hu­ge op­por­tu­ni­ty that I can’t de­ci­de w­hat I will en­joy mo­re, but pro­ba­bly seeing and fee­ling and ex­pe­rien­cing a new cul­tu­re would be my fa­vou­ri­te thing to do.” With ki­te­bo­ar­ding set to be ad­ded to the se­ni­or O­lym­pic pro­gram­me for Pa­ris 2024, t­his will al­so be the first ti­me it’s con­te­sted at the youth ver­si­on of the glo­bal sho­w­pie­ce. And Gouws has just one go­al in mind: “I ho­pe to walk a­way kno­wing that I ga­ve it my be­st.” A lack of win­dy con­di­ti­ons has pro­ved so­mething of a c­hal­len­ge in the ta­len­ted teen­a­ger’s pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for the Ga­mes. “Wit­hout wind in SA it was hard to train on the wa­ter, but I trai­ned re­al­ly hard off the wa­ter, and kept my he­alth and fit­ness up. We did go to Mo­zam­bi­que to train and it was success­ful, but I wish SA had mo­re wind,” she ad­mit­ted. The SA te­am de­par­ted Jo­han­nes­burg for Ar­gen­ti­na on Tu­es­day 2 Oc­to­ber, with the sai­ling e­vents due to get un­der­way 7 Oc­to­ber. For Gouws, who will be com­pe­ting in the IKA T­win Tip Ra­cing class, re­a­ching the Youth O­lym­pi­cs was a go­al in it­self, but the­re’s plen­ty mo­re she’s out to a­chie­ve. “The long-term go­al is to re­ach the point of per­fecti­on, alt­hough I am well a­wa­re the­re is al­ways so­mething that a per­son can do to im­pro­ve. I will still stri­ve for that point, kno­wing it can ne­ver be ful­ly re­a­ched.” That is part of the ap­pe­al of the sport al­ong with the exhi­la­ra­ti­on it of­fers. “W­hat's the­re not to lo­ve? I lo­ve e­ver­y­thing, the thrill, a­dre­na­li­ne and fa­mi­ly it cre­a­ted is just a­ma­zing,” reckons Gouws. “It's not just a sport, it's a li­fe­sty­le, and you either ha­ve a pas­si­on for it or you don't. You just ha­ve to com­mit and en­joy e­very se­cond you're on the wa­ter.”

Rut Gouws

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