Photo: Claudia Cummins of South Africa
Hailed as an extremely successful event by Salah Bouchiha, the President of the Algerian Gymnastics Federation, the 13th African Gymnastics Championships took place in Alger, Algeria from March 23rd through March 26th 2016. Bouchiha went on to say that “Algeria managed to organise a competition of international standards” and prior to the event, South African Team Manager, Tseko Mogotsi stated that the level of gymnastics is continually improving on the African continent.
The competition was comprised of ten African nations, Algeria, Congo, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Namibia, the Central African Republic, Senegal, South Africa and Angola. The biennial event saw 116 competitors compete for various titles in Artistic and Aerobic disciplines. Both men and women of varying ages competed.
On the Women’s Artistic side of competition, the Egyptian women took the Senior team title with a score of 153.65 with the South African team taking second with a score of 150.75 and the Algerian team placing third.
Senior team podium
In the Senior AA competition, Sherine El-Zeiny of Egypt added to her gold medal in the team competition with a gold medal in the AA scoring a 52.400 to take her third African Championships AA title. El-Zeiny is a two time Olympian for Egypt and was born in the Netherlands to Egyptian parents. After initially joining the Dutch National Team, El-Zeiny joined the Egyptian National Team in 2007 with immediate success, winning her first African Championships title that year.
Senior AA podium
2015 World Championships competitor and Olympic hopeful, Claudia Cummins of South Africa took the silver medal in the AA with a score of 51.900. Her South African teammate and fellow World Championships competitor, Kirsten Beckett took the bronze medal with a score of 50.200.
In event finals, Kirsten Beckett added to her medal haul, taking top honours on VT with an average score of 13.549. Hot on her heels, her South African teammate, Claudia Cummins took the VT silver medal and Egyptian gymnast, Mai El Sayed took the bronze medal on the event.
On UB, the Egyptian ladies, again were represented on the top of the podium with Armia Zakaria Rahaf taking the gold medal on that event. Claudia Cummins, adding to her medal haul, taking the silver medal and hot on her heels once again, her teammate, Kirsten Beckett took the bronze medal on the event with a score of 12.500.
On BB, once again Egypt topped the podium with Nada Mohammed taking the gold medal with a score of 13.133. Behind her were 15 year old and promising new senior, Lukisha Schalk of South Africa, who took the silver medal and fellow South African, Claudia Cummins who took the bronze medal.
Senior BB podium
On FX, the story again was the Egyptian and South African gymnasts, with Egyptian, Mandy Mohammed taking the gold medal followed by Kirsten Beckett and Claudia Cummins.
In the Junior ranks, the Egyptians triumphed as a team once again, followed by the young South African team who recently sent 4 of their young juniors to compete at the Austrian Team Cup and placed 7th as a team. The bronze medal in the junior team competition went to Morocco with a score of 119.400.
Junior team podium
In the junior AA, Egypt was again victorious with Farah Ahmed Hussein taking the gold medal with a score of 50.550. Caitlin Rooskrantz prevented an Egyptian 1-2 finish, taking the silver medal, with a score of 49.450, significantly lower than the 54.400 that she scored at the Austrian Team Cup which helped South Africa place 7th in the team standings at the beginning of March. Farah Said of Egypt and Naveen Daries of South Africa tied for the AA bronze medal.
Junior AA podium
In the overall medal standings, in both Aerobic and Artistic, men and women, Egypt topped the table with a total of 35 medals, followed by hosting nation, Algeria with 26 medals and South Africa with 25.
Photo credits: South African Gymnastics Federation Facebook & Egyptian Gymnastics Federation website.