Aerials looking to soar to new heights despite uncertain future

Pictured are Aerials Gymnastic Club members who performed well at the Western Cape championship in Saldanha Bay. From left are, Tameryn Asia (gold and first place overall), Hannah Bennett (bronze), Skylar Valentine (gold and sixth overall), Erin Frantz (gold), Meeka Mabee (gold and fourth overall), Skyla Steer (bronze ) and Kiahra- Lee Jackson (gold). Picture: Fuad Esack

Portland-based Aerials Gymnastic Club impressed at last weekend’s Cape Town Gymnastics Association’s Western Cape championship Level 1-3 competition, held in Saldanha Bay, winning gold and bronze in various divisions.

However, coach Samantha Adams, a physical education coach at Montagu Drive Primary School, is concerned about the future of the club, previously known as Giants Mitchell’s Plain, after receiving a formal notification from the City earlier this year that they will no longer be able to use the Portland indoor centre.

She said they were notified that the centre would be closed from mid-July for all users while it was set up as a Netball World Cup viewing centre for the duration of tournament currently on at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

She said they’ve also been instructed to find suitable storage space for their rented equipment should they be allowed to return to the centre. To make matters worse, the company from which they rent their apparatus took it back due to the lack of a storage facility.

“We need a container to store our equipment on the property, as we were informed that we could no longer store our equipment inside the hall due to certain rules and regulations as well as it possibly being an obstruction to other users,” said Adams, who has been coaching for 11 years.

Aerials Gymnastic Club coach Samantha Adams remains optimistic despite challenges threatening the club’s continued existence. Picture: Fuad Esack

For now, the future remains unclear as they don’t have a training facility and will not be entering upcoming competitions.

“Giants Mitchell’s Plain has been here since 2016 when I took over however, Giants Gymnastics, as the club was known previously, has been here for about 20 years before that,” she said.

She said the name change came about last year when Giants Blouberg, to whom they were once affiliated, requested they do so in order to avoid confusion among parents from the two different clubs during competition.

Change being as good as the proverbial holiday, the club re-branded as Aerials went on to dominate this year’s Western Cape championships.

“Our level Ones competed under 11-12 years age group and all three of our girls won gold namely, Erin Frantz , Kiahra- Lee Jackson and Skylar Valentine. Skylar also scored sixth overall,” she said.

In other action, Aerials’ Tameryn Asia won gold in the 13 and older division, Meeka Mabee, gold in the 11-12 years age group, finishing in fourth place overall, Hannah Bennett bronze in the 11-12 years and won bronze section and Skyla Steer gold in the group aged 9-10 years.

Despite their current challenges, Adams is hopeful that the issues can be resolved and the club will continue to grow

“Overall we have about 80 gymnasts ranging from beginners to competition kids and we constantly have new kids registering and joining every week,” said Adams.

“We do artistic gymnastics but we’re looking into a different direction right now and might introduce a different discipline into our club as we no longer have to equipment to do artistic,” she said.

“We want to implement Gym Strada and rope skipping just to keep the kids busy and fit until we can fix our equipment issues,” said Adams.

Aerials Gymnastic Club assistant coach Tiffany Adams with the group of young gymnasts from the club who impressed at the recent Western Cape championships. Picture: Fuad Esack

“Gymnastics is the foundation for all sports, it helps with any other sporting codes when it comes to fitness and flexibility. Gymnastics helps with teaching discipline and it helps the kids keep themselves busy. What I’ve also noticed is that this sport helps the kids with their self esteem.”

In a response to the Plainsman, the City of Cape Town said Portland indoor centre was announced as one of the public viewing areas for the Netball World Cup.

“The club was consulted about the proposal to temporarily remove their equipment and find an alternative space while the World Cup is under way. The club will be able to utilise the venue from August 11.”

If you’d like to assist the club in any way, call 061 767 5409.

Aerials assistant coach Tiffany Adams and her squad of young achievers. Picture Fuad Esack