SA kids wow the world
Malik Baatjes and Emileo Abreu (File)
Wroclaw - It took two South African teenagers from Westbury, Malik Baatjes and Emileo Abreu, to set the sixth Acro Gymnastics World Age Group championships alive with a stunning performance on the second day of the event and became the only South Africans to qualify for Monday's finals.
Baatjes and Abreu qualified in the fourth place and according to their coach, Natalia von Willigh, they will go all out to compete for a medal.
"The crowd's participation and applause told the whole story. Out of Africa, exciting new and lively with good coaching and brilliant choreography," former president of the Russian acro gymnastics federation and member of the International Gymnastics Federation, Victor Pestov, said.
Former Belarus champion, Natalia von Willigh, coaches the duo at Golden Lions Gymnastics in Newlands, Johannesburg and their choreography was done by Ekaterina Kalinina from Russia who spent a month at the club earlier this year.
"These two gymnasts are extremely competitive and I once had to separate them when they got involved in a fist fight during a training session. They really did us proud today," Von Willigh said.
Two of the club's gymnasts, Monique Steglen, also from Westbury and Jolien Dreyer stunned the acro world at the 2004 event in France when they won gold in the age group 11-16 women's pair section. It was South Africa's first and only medal ever at this event.