South Africa's Bianca Zoonekynd held her head high to end sixth in the women's tumbling final, at the World Games In Cali, Colombia, Zoopnekynd is pictured in action during the prelims of the tumbling event. Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen / SASPA

Bianca Zoonekynd held her head high to end sixth in the women’s tumbling final at the World Games In Cali, Colombia, on Tuesday night.

Click to view a video by David van der Sandt of Bianca Zoonekynd in action at the World Games In Cali, Colombia

Going into the finals ranked fifth after the preliminary round, she opened her competition with a 29.200 score.

That saw her end seventh after one effort as China’s Fangfang Jia, just as she did in the preliminaries earlier in the day, ended the first round streets ahead with a score of 34.300.

Zoonekynd upped her game for the second round and a 30.800 saw her end with a neat total of 60,000 and secure sixth spot in the final.

Jia pulled out all the stops to bring the competition to and end when she tumbled her way to top score of the entire competition, a superb 36.700 to end with 71,000, exactly the same score she recorded in the prelims.

Port Elizabeth’s Zoonekynd lives to fight another day though. The only women’s gymnast doing both the trampoline and double mini-trampoline, the latter is by far her favourite event and she’ll be looking to do the nation proud on Wednesday.

Zoonekynd was remarkably philosophical about her performance.”I know I could have done better… Should have, but I can’t change it now, got to focus on tomorrow.”

There was other South African interest in the final with Portugal’s Denise Pieters’ father hailing from South Africa.

Tug-Of-War Look to the Future

They may be arriving home in South Africa with World Games bronze medals draped around their neck on Tuesday but already the SA tug-of-war team are looking further down the line.

The team will now take a short breather before the road to the next World Games in Wroclow, Poland in 2017.

All but two of them that is… youngsters Leonnel Steyn and Anél Rabie now switch focus to the Under-23 outdoor World Championships taking place in Assen, Netherlands.

Team manager Anton Gerber was a happy man as the team jetted off back to South Africa. “We’ve moved up from sixth at the last World Games in Taiwan to third and these Games so I have to be happy.

“The good thing is that at least six of the girls in this team should still be available for us to work with over the next four years.”

Asked which particular pull was Team SA’s best effort over the course of the competition, Gerber had no hesitation. “The winning pull against Switzerland, without a doubt, it all came together very nicely.”

Can the machine that goes by the name of Chinese Taipei be beaten?

“Definitely but one has to understand that they are basically professional and train for six months solidly. They were here in Cali two weeks ago already. They are government funded and during their build-up they train seven days a week for eight hours a day. It’s hard to match that.

“But they can be beaten. I’ve seen them beaten by Spain. The trick is to make them defend. They’re brilliant on attack but if you can get them to defend they’re not unbeatable.”

Gerber now has four years to work on a Team SA master plan to put that thought into practice.


(With editing by gsport)