South Africa to participate in the European Championships?
In the last month of 2019 three experienced Danish coaches within TeamGym went to South Africa to introduce gymnasts in and around Pretoria to the gymnastics discipline. The upcoming European Championships in Copenhagen will be the largest scale TeamGym event ever and will also be welcoming nations outside of Europe to participate. Behind this goal are years of work with expanding TeamGym to more and more countries around the world, on all continents, and hopefully make it a truly international discipline.
Steven Nash, Mary Louise Reid og Line Kjærsgaard Knudsen, all with many years behind them as gymnasts and coaches within TeamGym in Denmark at the highest level, arrived in December 2019 to Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Arica. Here they introduced coaches from different local clubs to the international rules, Code of Point, and passed along inspiration and knowledge on how to implement TeamGym in the local clubs in the area.
Four hours northwest of Pretoria lies the town of Mafikeng, and the gymnastics facility Mmabana. But after extensive vandalism the building had no electricity or running water. On the contrary there were a lot of dedicated gymnasts and good equipment to use.
“We spent two days in Mafikeng, where we worked with the gymnasts and coaches. The first day we introduced everyone to Code of Point and showed how a normal training could look like. Steven coached in tumbling, Mary taught technique on the trampette and I went over which elements to use in a rhythmic sequence,” says Line Knudsen.
The next day the three Danish coaches gave the local coaches and gymnasts a challenge, to present two laps of jumps in each discipline (tumbling and trampette) and to show a short rhythmic sequence with specific elements and movement.
”We completed our stay in Mafikeng with a small and very successful presentation and before we left their were a lot of hugs and photos to be taken with the sweet and hard-working gymnasts, says Line Knudsen.
Great interest in TeamGym
Back in Pretoria the Danes had a few final meetings concerning the future of TeamGym in South Africa and luckily there were great interest to begin the training of TeamGym in different clubs around the country.
“The gymnasts have the talent and the will, and they all thought it was an exciting new approach to gymnastics. There were especially excited about the teamwork and sense of community surrounding TeamGym,” says Line Knudsen.
The goal for the future is that the South African clubs continue to train and work towards putting together a team that will compete at the European Championships in Denmark. It is expected that the team with produce their own choreography and develop realistic sequences of jumps.
“Hopefully we will be able to visit again and be able to help give them the strongest basis for the competition and the continuous development of TeamGym in South Africa, says Line Knudsen.