Johannesburg – South Africa's top women gymnasts Kirsten Beckett and Claudia Cummins begin their long road to the 2016 Olympic Games when they travel to Antwerp, Belgium, for the 2013 World Gymnastics Championships in September.
“Gymnastics is a very important code and we would dearly like to have gymnasts at both next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and at the Olympics in Rio,” Sascoc president Gideon Sam said on Tuesday.
Beckett was on a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee's (Sascoc's) Operation Excellence (Opex) program and Sam said he hoped more gymnasts would qualify for the program in future.
No South African gymnasts participated at last year's Olympics although three officials had fulfilled judging roles.
“Both Kirsten and Claudia are ranked by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and they have worked extremely hard,” coach Ilse Roets said.
“They will take the floor in Belgium well prepared.”
Beckett was ranked eighth in the world on vault, 13th on floor gymnastics and 42nd on uneven bars. Cummins was ranked 19th on vault.
It was the highest South African gymnasts had ever been ranked on the FIG system.
Beckett's silver medal at the 2010 Youth Commonwealth Games and her current world ranking earned her an Opex grant of R144 000.
The team is for the world championships
Men: Michael Makings, Tiaan Grobler, Siphesihle Biyase. Coach: Derick Schotlz.
Women: Claudia Cummins, Kirsten Beckett, Nicole Szabo. Coach: Ilse Roets. – Sapa