By Mark Etheridge
in Cali, Colombia
Team South Africa flagbearer Bianca Zoonekynd finally gets to strut her stuff on the World Games stage when the tumbling and double mini-trampoline category of gymnastics gets underway here on Tuesday.
Her participation, indeed all the tumbling and double mini gymnasts here, had been in doubt after FIG (the governing body of word gymnastics) distanced itself from the event after unhappiness with various aspects of the competition.
But the show must go on and Zoonekynd lines up for the tumbling discipline, the weaker of her two events first with prelims in the morning and finals in the evening.
She finally got three practice sessions in before her first event.” Everything’s fine… I got three sessions in of about two hours each (including warm-up and then tumbling and double-mini,” she said on Monday.
“The competition equipment is a slightly older version of what I’ve currently being competing on but it’s quite easy to adapt and it should all be fine.”
She’ll be up against eight tumbling opponents and eight rivals in the double mini.
Said mother and coach, Mandy: “The prelim routines for tumbling are all pretty similar with a straight pass, twisting pass and then three or four of the girls link a full-twisting double. After the prelims the girls with the lowest score go first.
“Once they’re into the final then Bianca’s routine can change depending on each competitor before her so that she knows what level of difficulty she needs to incorporate.”
In the tumbling her strongest threat comes from China and Canada but on her day the little 21-year-old Port Elizabeth gymnast could well force her way onto the podium.
The double mini-trampoline is her true fort├® and that competition is on Wednesday. Given her background and recent results in this discipline it should be a given that she ends on the podium… at the very least!