With Kirsten Beckett, usually the strongest gymnast competing for South Africa, only recently back from injury, the podium at this year’s national championships was a bit shaken up.
Instead it was Bianca Mann, 20, who fought her way to the top, earning a 52.27 to win the gold medal after hitting all four events, looking especially strong on vault for a 13.8 and floor for a 13.367. She defeated Claudia Cummins, who turns 20 this week, by less than a point after Cummins fell on beam despite an otherwise excellent day, including a 14.1 on vault and a 13.15 on bars.
In third place was 17-year-old Angela Maguire, who somewhat shockingly defeated Commonwealth Games hero Beckett 51.0 to Beckett’s 50.008. Maguire looked good everywhere but bars, and was the only gymnast of the day to break 13 on beam with her 13.15. Beckett, meanwhile, counted falls on bars and beam, and didn’t look her best her other events, though this was somewhat expected given her recent return from injury.
Event finals saw a nice mix of gymnasts earning golds, with Lotter averaging a 13.534 to win the vault title, Mann earning a 12.8 to win the bars title, Beckett earning a 13.633 for a very impressive routine to win the beam title, and Maguire earning a 12.87 to win the floor title. Lotter also picked up bars bronze and floor silver, Mann won the silver on valut and bronze on both beam and floor, Maguire won vault bronze, and Cummins won the silvers on bars and beam.
In the junior division, only four athletes competed, with Naveen Daries topping the field with her 47.65 all-around. Daries also won vault gold (12.95) in addition to bronze on bars, beam, and floor.
The silver medalist was Lukisha Schalk with a 46.767. Schalk went on to win the titles on beam (12.733) and floor (11.3) in addition to nabbing vault and bars silver. Caitlin Rooskrantz, just 13, won the bronze medal with a 46.467 in addition to bars gold (12.733) and the silvers on beam and floor.
Aatiqah Abrahams also competed, but only on vault in prelims before withdrawing from the remainder of the meet.
The 2015 South African Championships were held from June 5-6 in Cape Town. Full results are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins