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Heldsinger holds thumbs

Our lone gymnast hope in the running for the Olympic Games in London later this year is in a race against injury to qualify for the multisport extravaganza.

Ashleigh Heldsinger suffered an leg injury during landing at a practice session the day before she was meant to compete at the recent London Olympics Test Event.

Said Heldsinger’s coach Ilse Laing, ÔÇ£Ashleigh’s training and preparation had been going really well and she increased the difficulty in almost all her routines for the London Test Event. She was looking very confident throughout so this injury was really just unfortunate. Although her injury was not too serious, I decided to act conservatively so that she can get back to full strength in good time, to be 100% healthy if still selected for the London 2012 Olympic Games in July/AugustÔÇØ.

Even though Ashleigh was unable to compete at the January Test Event, an event which allowed an additional opportunity for gymnasts to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, her score of 49.6 achieved at the Tokyo Artistic World Championships in August puts her comfortably in line with other Olympic Games qualifying gymnasts.

The final decision regarding Ashleigh’s qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games now lies with the FIG Executive Committee firstly, thereafter SASCOC to decide upon her selection into the South African team. Given the fact that the first reserve gymnast after the Test Event only managed to score a 46.0+, and Ashleigh is certainly still in with a chance.

However if qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games does not materialize for Ashleigh, she has still had a most successful year, finishing as the top African gymnast at last year’s Artistic World Championships. Currently just 17 years old, she is still young and certainly has much going for her over the next few years. Her ultimate goals are to compete at an Olympic Games as well as win a medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.