Langa rhythmic gymnast Thimna Ngodwane is worried about the effect the strict measures being put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 will have on his fitness.
From midnight tonight, Thursday March 26, the country will be under lockdown for 21 days but many sporting events and meetings have already been cancelled since last week.
Thimna, 18, said his routine has changed from intense training sessions four times a week at Langa sports complex to doing stretches at his mother’s home.
Thimna Ngodwane, who is one of the few rhythmic gymnastics champion boys in over-15 Western Cape Gymnastics, describes rhythmic gymnastics as a dance-like rhythmic routine, which includes the expression of feelings through music.
“The sport combines elements of gymnastics, dance and movement. The gymnast must be strong, flexible and very agile.”
Thimna says his love for gymnastics started when he was 12 years old. He went to watch his friend who was already doing gymnastics at the time.
“Before I got into gymnastics, I did a lot of acting and I enjoyed it, but when my friend asked me to go support her, I was fell in love with it and since that day, I have never looked back.”
The Athlone High School Grade 11 pupil was meant to take part in Western Province trails in July.
He is trying his best to stay in shape. “As a gymnast, you need to be very disciplined in training and keeping in shape. I try to stay in shape and keep fit even during this time.
“I stretch every morning at home. I do my daily dance routine so I don’t get rusty. It is a challenge though because at home there is not much space and time,” he said.
“Gymnastics is very tough. Every year it gets more challenging, but I always encourage myself to keep training. My first biggest achievement was in August 2019 where I came 3rd place as one of the few boys in the Western Cape Championship competition. That has been one of my biggest highlights,” he said.
“The 21 days lockdown is making me feel sad and I’m worried, because as gymnasts, we need a lot of intense training. By now our training should have started already in order to participate in trials,” he said.
Thimna is inspired by the top Russian gymnasts Arina and Dina Alekseyevna Averina.
“These two sisters put a lot of work and effort in what they do. They train hard and show passion in their routines.”
President of Cape Town Gymnastics Association, Warren Lucas, said rythmic gymnastics is one of nine different disciplines within gymnastics. Thimna was the first male in the country to win a spot in the Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics section in August.