Fifteen-year-old Johannesburg-based Artistic Gymnast, Kirsten Beckett, secured a silver medal in the Vault Apparatus Finals at the Commonwealth Youth Games, held in the Isle of Man from 7 – 13 September.
Beckett, the only South African gymnast at the Games, had a very good competition, making both Vault and Uneven Bars Finals, after finishing 10th position out of 27 contestants in the Women’s Overall Competition (all 4 apparatus).
Her high qualifying scores on Vault and Bar allowed her to compete in the Individual Bar and Vault Finals, where she attained 2nd position in the Vault Final and 6th position in the Bar Final.
Beckett’s silver medal score for vault was 13.250, with gold medallist Rebecca Tunney from England scoring 13.350 and bronze medallist Abi Craig also from England scoring 13.200.
The junior gymnast, part of SAGF’s High Performance Development Programme, is coached by Ilse Laing and Shirley Watson at Johannesburg Gymnastics Club.
Beckett’s previous international experience was at the 2010 African Championships held in Namibia, where she was a member of the SA Team, as well as at the 2010 TopGym Challenge held in Belgium, where she attained 11th position for Artistic All-round, finishing first among the Commonwealth Girls. This silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games is her first major accomplishment at an International Event.
This junior gymnast, who will turn senior next year, is an up and coming star in the making. With proper support and additional international exposure, Beckett has the potential to emulate Senior Gymnast Jennifer Khwela’s silver medal success at a Commonwealth Games.
Beckett will next be in action at the SA Gym Games, to be held at the Bellville Velodrome from the 3 – 8th October.
The South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) is the governing body for gymnastics in the geographic bounds of South Africa.
The SAGF governs 9 disciplines: Gymnastics for All, Men’s Artistic Gymnastics, Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Trampoline Gymnastics, Tumbling Gymnastics, Aerobic and Acrobatic Gymnastics as well as Rope Skipping.
SAGF is affiliated to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the African Gymnastic Union (UAG) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
The Federation is actively involved from grassroots development to elite gymnastics in all the nine Provinces of South Africa with the assistance of its provincial affiliates.