Taking rhythmic gymnastics to new heights

Britt Adonis is currently the country’s highest qualified rhythmic gymnastics judge and she aims to be the first Namibian gymnastics judge at the Olympics.

25 February 2019 | People

Leandrea Louw - Former gymnast, now coach and rhythmic gymnastics club owner Britt Adonis (34) aspires to be Namibia’s first gymnastics judge at the Olympics.

Adonis started her education at the Swakopmund English School, now known as Westside Primary School, later moved to Namib High School and completed her schooling at Walvis Bay Private High School.

She started doing gymnastics at the age of eight at Ocean View Gymnastics club and instantly fell in love with the sport.

“Having a Namibian as well as British, German, Norwegian and Russian coaches at the beginning of my career gave me exposure to the various coaching and routine techniques.”

She competed for over ten years and during her time at the Walvis Bay Gymnastics Club, under the watchful eye of Ms Romi Kostin, ventured into other areas of the sport such as judging and coaching.

“At the beginning of my Grade 12 year I had to make a choice. I couldn’t train, judge and coach at the same time. I opted for judging and coaching.”

During her gymnast days, she made it into the National Team for five consecutive years and was named the junior national champion and the senior national champion twice.

After completing Grade 12 year she enrolled at Varsity College and obtained a degree in psychology. She moved back to Walvis Bay After her studies but was not involved in the sport.

“I decided to judge again and was the unofficial assistant coach at the Walvis Bay Gymnastics Club in 2009. Leading up to 2013, I did my first Brevet course which paved the way open for me to become an international judge. I had the opportunity to judge at the African Championships in March 2014, which was also a youth Olympic Qualifier. Later that year, I received a call to judge at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow."

She was subsequently named referee of the year at the annual Namibia Sport Commission Awards in October 2014.

Adonis then spread her wings further and opened her own all-girls rhythmic gymnastics club in 2015.

“I approached a few people to hear if they would be interested in joining a rhythmic gymnastics club. Infinity Rhythmic Gymnastics Club opened its doors in February. We started with a very small group but have been growing ever since.”

Since the inception of Infinity she had two gymnasts (Mea-Nine Olivier and Timiica van Wyk) on the Namibian national team and gymnastics federation team that competed in the South African National Championships.

She had another opportunity to judge at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2016, completed her second Brevet course in Egypt in 2017, and was invited to judge at the African Championships which was once again a Youth Olympic Qualifier in 2018.

She is currently the highest qualified judge in Namibia, and also the head of judging for rhythmic gymnastics in Namibia.

“My main goal is to be invited to judge at the Olympics. In order for me to achieve this, I need to complete another Brevet course. These courses not only improve my qualifications but help me to be a better coach by knowing the rules. The Brevet course exam is nerve-wrecking and intimidating, but it motivates you to push yourself that extra mile.”

She says that Infinity isn’t just a sports club, but a family.

“We are about 27 gymnast, but I am aiming for 30 to join the club. I’ve created an environment where the girls are comfortable with each other and with me - an environment where they can openly share what’s happening in their lives without feeling judged. They’re free to talk to me about anything. During my years of training, it was a very different environment and I’m changing that status quo.”

Infinity is open to girls from 4 years to 18 years and training takes place from Monday to Friday, 14:00 to 18:00.

“I’m very flexible when I set the training schedule; it’s not cast in stone. I’m mindful of the fact that the girls have other obligations other than gymnastics and I always try and work out their schedule according to that.”

Adonis explained that gymnastics played a huge role in her life.

“I got to travel to places such as Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, where I was exposed to different cultures. Through the years, I learned how to take care of myself and realised that through hard work you can make a success of anything you put your mind to. Gymnastics taught me self-confidence, since it requires you not to be shy and soft spoken. I always meet great people from all over the world and we always keep tabs on each other since the rhythmic gymnastics is such a small community."

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