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Gymnast all over the globe recently celebrated World Gymnastics Day and with their eye on the future and Olympic Gold in their hearts, Marshall Gymnastics Academy (MGA) gymnasts in Mokopane joined in the celebration of their sport.
Some of the local gymnasts who shared their passion and future goals with us while shedding some light on the value the sport ads to their lives.
Ruan Goosen, a 14-year-old level 5 Mens Artistic Gymnast says he likes the way Gymnastics make him feel free and fearless, how its made him stronger and faster and how it taught him to trust his coaches.
Melody Raats is a 15-year-old Women’s Artistic Gymnast who competes at level 6 this year. She enjoys the grit and strength the sport teaches her. “My mobility, central balance and all-around strength improves constantly and flying through the air is an added bonus.” She does not let success or failure define her as an athlete, but that rising to the challenge of the sport makes a sportsperson a champion.
Thirteen-year-old Viné van den Heever competes at level 4 and loves the way gymnastics taught her to believe in herself and that it is fun to do! It has also made her more supple, stronger and improved her posture. Having done gymnastics from the age of three, she has learnt to never give up, to believe in herself and to chase her dreams.
Keanu Potgieter is a 10-year-old high-performance, class 1, gymnast. “I love sport! I have gained strength and agility because of my gymnastics training. I have learned how to be really focused.”
Their coaches Merene van Zyl and Lize Janse van Rensburg says they have learned as much from training gymnasts as they have from coaching courses.
“Through gymnastics, coaches and athletes learn tenacity and grit and even though mistakes are made, they know that they are not defined by their competition results, by their falls, or by their victories.
“I have learnt that injuries happen, that judges make mistakes, that things happen out of our control, but I have learned how to make the best of these and in that train young gymnasts to do the same. I have learnt that a champion heart in an athlete is worth far more than any golden medal,” says Merene.
Lize says gymnastics taught her that that endurance, determination and passion has more value than talent. Boys coach Martin Brits agrees with Lize and adds that he loves finding ways to inspire passion and inciting discipline in the gymnasts he coaches. “Mental development is also important as the outflow of this will be an increased commitment to the sport, but also to the gymnasts personal growth.”
MGA owner and head coach, Richard Marshall believes the level of excellence in a class is determined by the level of excellence in the coach’s life and how it is implemented during sessions. “The emotional state of the gymnast is, in general, a reflection of that of their coach.”
Richard believes the mental and spiritual development is as important, and in many cases, more important than immediate physical development as the outflow of this will be increased commitment by the gymnast in his own growth and that of his peers.
MGA offers classes at the Resource, Equip and Training (RET) Centre on the corner of Geyser and Fourie Street. One free class is offered to anyone interested in finding out more about the MGA. Call Merene on 079 217 8410 to find out more.
Vine van den Heever is the reigning Limpopo champion in her age group and finished in second place at the SA Gym Games in October.