Gymnastics alive and well

Coaches and gymGordons Gymnastics from left, Amy Rice, Matthew la Vita, Janine Magerman, Declan Davids, Cleopatra Abrahams and Thozamile Peter.

While gymnastics enthusiasts were feeling withdrawal symptoms following the Olympic Games in Rio, Gordons Gymnastics took to the floor along with clubs from across the country to reignite the excitement when they celebrated national gymnastics day.

Club administrator, Charlene Kilian, said the South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) invited clubs nationally to their event – which was themed “Show off your skill” – but also encouraged clubs to host their own event at their respective gyms.

Gordons Gymnastics club owner, Gabor Kovacs said the national event is aimed at promoting the sport and highlighting its benefits.

The talented gymnasts from Gordons sprung at the opportunity and showed off their skill to a packed crowed at the Root 44 market, in Stellenbosch.

“The gymnastics federation knew that not all clubs would be able to make their event, and they sent out letters that clubs should host their own one in line with theirs,” said Kilian.

“We decided to team up with Stellenbosch Gymnastics Club and Maties. We had specific time slots where each of us got a chance to show off our skills. The day turned out great because there was rain expected. Once we arrived at the venue it was already packed and the crowd enjoyed the displays. There was a fantastic vibe and enthusiasm from the people, which was encouraging to our gymnasts,” she said.

Kilian said at lunch time they opened up the floor to children who wanted to join the fun, and they were given a chance to try out the tumbling track and trampoline.

Kovacs, who’s been in charge of the club since 1994, is a former Hungarian national gymnast. He also coached the South African men’s artistic team and Swaziland’s senior national squad.

Gordons Gymnastics, formerly known as the Gordons Institute, initially offered a variety of sporting codes. But, when Kovacs took over the club he shifted focus to mainly gymnastics, and changed the name to what it is today. The majority of the members are recreational gymnasts, while 50 of them compete.

“This is the second time South Africa is joining the gymnastics day with USA Gymnastics. Gymnastics is the base of all sport, for every child from the ages three to seven – which is a crucial time to start,” said Kovacs.

“Physical Education at school is not enough and the purpose is to create healthy development, physically and mentally. We are the oldest gym in Cape Town – we’ve been around for 100 years. We feel that physical literacy is vital, hence the change in direction with our sporting code. Now that its recreational gymnastics, a strong foundation sets gymnasts up for a lifetime of well-being in any chosen sport,” he said.

Their gymnasts are in the process of adding their finishing touches to their training as they prepare for the SA gym games which take place from Saturday October 1 to Saturday October 8, at the Wynberg Militarty Base.

Last year, they had four gymnasts who qualified for the SA games but this year 11 of them will fly the flag for their gym.