South African gymnast Caitlin Rooskrantz has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the recent 2019 Artistic World Championships in Stuttgart.
Rooskrantz will be the first South African woman to qualify for the Games in artistic gymnastics since the end of isolation
Rooskrantz, Naveen Daries and Mammule Rankoe flew the flag at the Olympic qualification competition in Stuttgart.
The Johannesburg-based gymnast scored 49.466 finishing narrowly ahead of Naveen (49.399) who performed cleanly on all apparatus.
Caitlin finished ahead of gymnasts from Sweden, Chile, Israel, Norway, Azerbaijan and Olympic medalist Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan.
Only one gymnast per country is allowed to qualify at these championships which meant Naveen would get a shot at the 2020 African Championships that will be hosted in Pretoria in April.
Rooskrantz, a Grade-12 learner from Parktown Girls’ High in Johannesburg made history in September becoming the first South African to win a gold medal at an international gymnastics competition. She finished first in the uneven bars at the FIG Challenge Cup in Szombathely, Hungary.
SA Gymnastics Federation acting president Donovan Jurgens, commented that the three women’s performances were the best South Africa had seen in years.
“It is the first time a South African Artistic Woman has qualified at the World Championships for the Olympics without utilizing the African Continental birth,” Jurgens said.
“And to have two gymnasts’ neck on neck in this race is even more encouraging. Should Naveen qualify at the African Championships, this will be the first time in South African Gymnastics history that two gymnasts from the same discipline have qualified for an Olympic Games.”