Japanese gymnasts will be in action in South Africa again for the first time in almost 50 years this month when a women’s and men’s team take part in the Africa Safari International at Centurion Gymnastics Club.
It’s been announced that the event will be held over two days on 20-21 July and gymnasts from South Africa, Namibia and Bangladesh will also take part.
Olympic and world champions Mitso Tshukahara and Akinori Nakayama drew capacity audiences in the Skildpadsaal at the Pretoria Showgrounds when they took part in the 1973 SA Games and Tshukahara has a vault named after him.
The last time gymnastics drew a capacity crowd in South Africa was when East European gymnasts from Belarus took part in a mixed pairs competition at the Rembrandt Hall at the University of Pretoria in 1992.
Other news is that a Bangladesh women’s gymnastics team will participate in an international tournament abroad for the first time in seven years after a three-member squad was finalised to take part in the Africa Safari International 2018.
Bangladesh female gymnasts last took part in an international event at home at the Sultana Kamal Fourth Central South Asian Games in Dhaka in 2001 where Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian female gymnast ever to qualify for the Olympic Games, was one of the participants.
Photo: Lukisha Schalk, Lisa Conradie, Aidan Maguire and Ruan Lange and Minister Shuichiro Kawaguchi (Japan), at the announcement of the Africa Safari international gymnastics competition by Christiaan Kotze/SASPA)