Trampoline’s up and down popularity as a sport at UP

Ashley Magwindiri

A trampoline is a recreational tool used for acrobatic training.UP offers a trampoline program that caters for beginner athletes and international athletes, from the age of four to the age of 60. The TuksTrampoline membership fee includes access to training facilities and association with the South African Gymnastics Federation.

According to Summer Olympic Sport, trampolines were developed in 1934 and were mainly used to train astronauts and as a training tool for other sports. TuksTrampoline coach Lucky Radebe said, “The trampoline was introduced by Helen van der Walt in the 90’s and was joined with Artistic Gymnastics.” In 2013, trampoline was separated from artistic gymnastics. Radebe said the growth of trampoline is often difficult as equipment is expensive and it has to be imported. However, the lack of a dedicated venue is the biggest problem for TuksTrampoline gymnasts. “The university try to accommodate the sport by making Groenkloof available but it is difficult [to train]when changes are done at short notice,” he said.

Radebe believes that in Africa trampoline is not that popular because it is mainly seen as a recreational activity. Trampoline made its debut as an Olympic sport in 2000 at the Sydney games where during each event trampolinists perform at least 10 different manoeuvres, with five judges scoring their efforts.

Trampoline is a sport that is starting to prime for a major push, not in terms of support from the supporters but from other athletes. According to Radebe, TuksTrampoline has produced more Springbok and Protea trampoline gymnasts than any other club. According to the Summer Olympic Sports, there are several trampoline competitions and events, however, only two of them where introduced at the Olympics namely the women’s and men’s competitions. Trampoline is still developing, however, Radebe believes that Trampoline does not receive the recognition it deserves. Radebe is one of the outstanding trampoline gymnasts, he performed exceptionally well at the 2009 World Games and at the 2014 World championships, despite having undergone knee operations.

Radebe coaches Charné Steyn who represented UP at the 32nd Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in November 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria.South African trampolinist, Bianca Zoonekynd, won gold at the Trampoline World Championships in 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria during the double mini-trampoline event. The South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) recently introduced the 4x4 fitness program which helps trampoline gymnasts train.

 

Lucky Radebe. Image Provided.

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