Namibian gymnasts Robert Honiball and Kimberly Anne van Zyl created history by winning Namibia’s first-ever gold medals in the artistic gymnastics category at the African Gymnastics Championships on Friday.
Honiball won a gold medal in the Senior Men’s Rings final, while Van Zyl won gold in the Senior Women’s beam final.
Honiball gave a great display of power and control to win the gold medal with 13,700 points, finishing just ahead of Mohamed Srour of Egypt and Wajdi Bouallegue of Tunisia who shared second place on 13,600 points.
Honiball was ecstatic with the result, saying it was extra special after injuries had put paid to his chances in the past.
“I feel fantastic. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of compromise on different things in life. It took a lot to get here and I’m very excited today, it’s a dream come true,” he said.
“I was very unfortunate in the past because there was one African Championships and one All Africa Games where I had serious injuries and I couldn’t finish the competition and I wasn’t given the chance to compete for medals. So this has been a big milestone in my life,” he added.
Honiball said it was a great achievement for Namibia, against the best gymnasts on the continent.
“The competition was extremely strong and all the big gymnastics countries were here like Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and South Africa so I think for Namibia it’s a big achievement because it has not won a gold medal before,” he said.
Van Zyl won gold in the beam final with a score of 11,500 points, finishing just ahead of South Africa’s Chanel Parsons who came second on 11,450, while Algeria’s Salmi Khadidja came third on 10,800 points.
Van Zyl finished a flawless exercise but Parsons seemed to be heading for gold with a more difficult routine. She however lost her balance and fell off the beam which enabled Van Zyl to snatch the gold medal by 0,050 points.
For Van Zyl, too, it was just reward after bad luck had put paid to her chances in the past. At the African Championships in Cape Town in 2008 she came fifth, missing out on the bronze medal by 0,50 points, while she came fourth at the 2009 African Championships in Egypt, missing out on bronze by 0,10 points.
“I’m very excited and I feel that at last my hard work has paid off because it’s the third time that I’ve been a contender. The first two times I came fourth and to improve to first position here is a very big achievement so I’m very happy,” she said.
Van Zyl’s achievement was all the more remarkable since she nearly retired after suffering a back injury more than a year ago.
“I took off a year because I had problems with my back. I decided to only focus on the beam and I’ve only been training for a month now just to get back to my old routine. So it’s even better now that I won the gold medal because I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said.
In the junior Male Artistic Gymnastics category, Namibia’s Morihei Anderson won a bronze medal in the rings final with a score of 11,40 points, finishing behind Tarek Shalaby of Egypt (13,15) and Tiaan Grobler of South Africa (12,15).
In the team competition, Namibia’s junior Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team of Nadine Jaeger, Jessica Jaeger, Laetitia du Plessis, Mari Louise du Plessis and Dannii Biewenga won a bronze medal with 114,05 points, finishing behind South Africa (147,20) and Egypt (146,05).
Namibia’s senior Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team of Chloe Hansen, Lynique Louw, Elmarie Oosthuizen, Nicole Loubser and Kimberly Ann van Zyl also won a bronze medal with 119,10 points, finishing behind South Africa (147,40) and Egypt (146,90).
The complete results are attached.
|MAG Senior Results.pdf||286.12 KB|
|WAG Senior Results.pdf||112.37 KB|
|WAG Senior Apparatus Results.pdf||186.93 KB|
|MAG Junior Apparatus Results.pdf||257.14 KB|
|MAG Junior Results.pdf||130.68 KB|
|WAG Junior Apparatus Results.pdf||180.1 KB|
|WAG Junior Results.pdf||86.5 KB|