#ExtraTime: Why gymnastics is at the heart of every sport
CEO of the South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) Anne Vermaak spoke to EWN Sport about what gymnastics means to communities and how the nationwide lockdown is impacting the sport.
Gymnastics clubs rely on memberships to stay afloat and gymnasts need to practice daily to remain focused and fit. The lockdown has prevented clubs from opening, meaning smaller clubs are at risk if they don’t operate soon. Some clubs have resorted to online training, but this isn’t a solution for clubs in communities with little access to the internet.
“Gymnastics has changed a lot in the last six weeks. We are very reliant on our sporting apparatus. I think that our community has done amazingly in the last six weeks in adapting what they can do for those who do have access to the digital platform, but a lot of our communities don’t have access. For them this is disastrous,” explained Vermaak. “For those who do have access, they’re doing the best that they can but they’re nearing the end of their tether of the time that we really need to get back in the clubs on apparatus, and we’re not expecting an old normal. We are certainly expecting a new normal, and we're happy to oblige and adapt.”
Their inability to be at the gym has forced some club members to get creative. The SAGF has helped clubs connect and assist them in keeping their businesses alive, at least until the lockdown eases.
“We’ve become very innovative. We’ve set up our home gym challenge so we can play our part in the public in keeping during this time. We’ve also established our Club Connect for us to be able to talk to our clubs to have first-hand communication,” Vermaak said. “All the resources are pushed onto that platform, and we also added a business accelerator course – so an online business course that they can do, to really help them change their businesses as well, because the survival is about how we’re going to adapt and how will businesses change, so really giving them support on that side.”
The future of sport all over the world is uncertain at this time. Many sports have accepted that their future will almost certainly include a digital world until it is safe to hold mass participation events. This may be many months away still and many sports need to find ways of surviving until then.
“If we don’t get back on the apparatus soon, we’re going to have technical problems because we do need time on the apparatus. We already have a task team looking at protocols for online competitions,” Vermaak said. “We know that life is not normal, but we are prepared to change and adapt and work with the government to ensure safe play and safe fitness for our population.”
Gymnastics has been a part of communities all over South Africa for decades, hasn’t grabbed the attention on an elite level for some until. That was until 17-year-old Caitlin Rooskrantz qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games by winning gold at the FIG Challenge Cup in Szombathely, Hungary last year. Her achievements and promise have turned the spotlight on gymnastics in a big way, with much expected of Rooskrantz and some of her compatriots at the postponed Olympics next year.
Vermaak explained why gymnastics is special, even to sports like rugby. “Gymnastics is the heart of every movement. It’s the foundation of every sport. To run, jump, skip, the fundamental movements are learnt from gymnastics. If you go to any top sportsman or woman and ask them ‘did you ever do gymnastics when you started off?’ most of them would say ‘yes’,” Vermaak said.
This article first appeared on EWN : #ExtraTime: Why gymnastics is at the heart of every sport
Professional rugby and soccer teams can resume training under Level 3, says Sport Minister Nathi Mthethwa.Read More
Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has updated the nation on the resumption of non-contact sport.Read More
In today’s edition of Extra Time, we speak to Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane about her many years in the sport, and some of the exciting plans she has as the World Cup approaches.Read More
Sibusiso Vilane knows a thing or two about facing a storm. His historic ascent of Mount Everest in 2003 was filled with them, but he pushed through and climbed many more peaks.Read More
In this week's edition of #ExtraTime, we focus our attention on netball, and we speak to national team coach Dorette Badenhorst who takes us through her journey in the sport.Read More
In the latest instalment of #ExtraTime, we speak to South Africa's star gymnast Caitlin Rooskrantz who opens up about her 12-year journey to the top, and what qualifying for the Olympic Games means to her.Read More
The latest instalment of #ExtraTime sees EWN Sport catch up with Tennis South Africa CEO Richard Glover, to talk about the growth of the sport – and about working for Arsenal FC many years.Read More
A Sascoc survey shows over 80% of sports federations will only survive for 6 months under current lockdown restrictions.Read More
This means that the Comrades 2021 will now be the 95th edition of the Ultimate Human Race, starting from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30 am and finishing 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.Read More
The retired international rugby player who is now pursuing new ventures took some time out to speak to Ray White.Read More