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Lifelong passion gets Lotter to Student Games

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Gymnastics has been more than merely a sport for all but four years of 20-year-old Tylah Lotter’s life.

It might sound like a life sentence, but Lotter is just as passionate about what she does as the first day she started.

‘I would advise anyone and everyone to do gymnastics, either competitively or recreationally. Gymnastics is an extremely well-rounded sport. It teaches you honesty, discipline, strength of character, perseverance. All of it will stand you in good stead in life.

‘I would never have been as focused as I was at school if it wasn’t for my gymnastics. I also wouldn’t be as persevering as I am without gymnastics,’ said the 20-year-old Tuks gymnast, who will be representing South Africa at the World Student Games in Taipei from Monday.

According to Lotter, her goal along with teammates Claudia Cummins, Bianca Mann and Angela Maguire, will be to get a good result in the team competition. ‘The better our results, the more South Africa’s ranking will improve, which is important in light of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.’

The first time Lotter took note of gymnastics was when she was only three years old. Her mom was busy watching gymnastics during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

‘After my mom explained to me what it was about, I told her that’s what I was going to do when I grew up. But I was never going to wait that long to do gymnastics. My mind was made up. After six months of constant nagging, my mom gave in, and I was allowed to start training at Tuks with my coach, Louis Fourie, and I never looked back.

‘I love my sport because there’s no bigger reward than mastering a new skill. Sometimes it takes hours of practice, if not years, but it’s all worth it in the end.’

Lotter admits that being a gymnast is often a case of mind over matter and it’s not always easy.

‘I think fear is part of anything that one does. It plays a big part in gymnastics. From experience, the fear doesn’t ever really go away, but it helps to keep your wits about you. The more you practice a certain skill, the more you can trust your body. So when the time comes, and you have a sudden mental block, your physical and mental training is strong enough to override your fear. It is not always a quick process, but rather a process of perseverance.

‘The most serious injury I have had is a stress fracture to my ischial bone. It took more than a year of rest, physiotherapy and rehabilitation to recover.’

Lotter said she has no favourite routine in gymnastics, however she does enjoy doing vault training and loves performing the floor routine.

A definite highlight was representing South Africa at the 2014 World Championships in China. ‘It was the first time I competed at the World Championships. I came 93rd out of roughly 200 competitors, so I was happy as I went clean, meaning I had no falls.

‘Another highlight was the 2015 All African Games in Brazzaville, Congo. We won the team competition. I made two finals, placing fourth on the vault and third on the bar.’


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