Thanks Jan Blom

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IT IS absolutely amazing to know that Port Alfred’s Onke Mangele is the 2016 African Junior Double Mini Trampoline Champion!  The best in Africa in the junior section!

To think that this achievement would not have been possible without the influence of a humble Dutch gentleman, Jan Blom, who noticed his young neighbour (Siphamandla Baku) “doing flips” on the ground in Nemato many years ago.  Jan has selflessly and consistently pursued opportunities for the underprivileged kids in the area.  He has arranged Lee Budler (one of SA’s top trampoline and tumbling coaches and Brevet Judge) to coach up and coming talent in Port Elizabeth.

What these young men are receiving in terms of training and mentorship whenever they are able to train in Port Elizabeth, is highly sought after by gymnasts in SA.

Congratulations to Onke for his hard work and courage, and thanks to Siphamandla Baku for showing the young men in the area that doing elite gymnastics is possible even if you live in a “township” in a small EC coastal town.  Siphamandla has represented SA numerous times and is now in the extremely competitive “Men’s Senior” section.

Another thank you must go to the team in Nemato for allowing one of the local Sunshine Coast gymnasts to train on their Eurotramp this week.  What a wonderful gesture on their part, to give him a chance to prepare for his “Level 2” SA Games competition in October! Stafford Avis was so inspired by the elite gymnasts in Nemato.

We are very grateful to you, Jan, and your team members!

CAROL-ANN STIEKEMA, SUNSHINE COAST GYMNASTICS

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