Lausanne, July 9, 2013: The South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) is on the brink of an event it’s not soon to forget. Since the creation of the World Gymnaestrada in 1953 in Rotterdam (NED), Gymnastics for All has never once crossed the European frontier – until today, for the second edition of the World Gym for Life Challenge.
And it’s all because of SAGF, its President Jerry Masia and CEO Elizabeth Cameron-Smith, whose enthusiasm has won the loyalty of an entire country. The victory is shared by the FIG Gymnastics for All Committee and its President Margaret Sikkens Ahlquist (SWE), who has faithfully pushed to broaden the scope of her discipline’s activities.
Before the event even opened its doors, it proved to be a popular success. Some 1,500 participants from more than 70 clubs have arrived under a beautiful Cape Town sun. Among them, the Swiss Club of Corcelles – Cormondrêche called SUI 08! 19 young gymnasts with 10 chaperons are fresh off the flight connecting Geneva-Frankfurt-Johannesburg-Cape Town. They seem no worse for the wear, with eyes wide open to the unforgettable adventure awaiting. Directors sisters’Besancet confirm.
“We caught the virus at our first Gymnaestrada in Gothenburg (SWE) in 1999, in Lisbon (POR) in 2003 and then in Dornbirn (AUT) in 2007, where we learned that an international clubs contest was possibly in the making. We immediately reacted and seized our opportunity. Gymnasts, parents, coaches: everyone got on board.”
“We arranged a show for Cape Town based on acrobatics and devoid of hand-held apparatus called ‘See how the butterfly rides!’ It evoked nature and conservation through the flight of a butterfly.”
For the group from Switzerland, a long night of recovery will lead to their first training sessions tomorrow.
But things get serious on Friday, July 12 at 9:40 am sharp at the Cape Town International Convention Centre where experts for group evaluation will be waiting, pens in hand.