Caitlin Rooskrantz on an emotional Birmingham 2022 for South Africa's gymnasts

Tears were shed at the 2022 Commonwealth Games by the close-knit squad – both of joy and sadness – with emotions spilling over at the end of the team competition, Caitlin Rooskrantz tells Olympics.com.  

By Jo Gunston
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

In the mixed zone where athletes conduct media interviews after performances, the South African women’s artistic gymnastics team were in tears. Huddled together in a group hug, a range of emotions were flying.

The team had just placed fourth in the team event, their best result at a Commonwealth Games, so there were happy tears.

On the other side of the spectrum, there were sad tears with the imminent retirement of one of their number, Mammule Rankoe.

Tokyo 2020 Olympian Caitlin Rooskrantz told Olympics.com: “It’s a big moment today because it’s an emotional competition for a lot of us. We’ve been preparing as a team for the whole year for this competition. We don’t do a lot of team competitions (and) our last team competition didn’t go amazingly well, so we worked really hard.

Read: How to watch Caitlin Rooskrantz in the Commonwealth Games uneven bars final

"Coming from South Africa, we don't really compete in big arenas a lot because it's quite a small sport so and not a lot of people know about it. So to come out here and be in a huge arena with all these people supporting us, it was amazing."

The Birmingham crowd supported all the gymnasts performing, as well as home nation England, and especially those who struggled with their routines.

"I didn't have the best beam routine and I had a fall in in the middle," said Rooskrantz. "But hearing the crowd cheer you on in the middle of that is kind of motivating, you know, to not make you feel so bad, and it can give you that oomph to really finish it off."

End of the road

More tears were shed for team-mate Rankoe, 22, who was competing in her final ever gymnastics competition. That may not seem that old in gymnastics these days, says Rooskrantz, but it's more challenging to be a longer-term gymnast in South Africa.

But there was even more to the emotion of the South African team than that.

All the competitors belonged to the same club, Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre, so the experience for them was one of club mates as much as international team members.

Rooskrantz's team-mate, friend and fellow Olympian, Naveen Daries, explained their club 's special bond.

"At the end of the day we're all from one big club, well, it's quite a tiny club, but we're all from one space and we're all just one big happy family and we love and support each other so much. So to see everyone do well and just give it their all, it's amazing and it's emotional. So I'm just really proud of myself and my entire team."

South Africa women's gymnasts in the individual apparatus finals

Monday 1 August 1pm BST

Vault
Naveen Daries

Uneven bars
Caitlin Rooskrantz

Tuesday 2 August 1pm BST

Beam
Shante Koti

Floor
Naveen Daries

How to watch the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

UK: BBC TV, Radio, iPlayer

Canada: CBC Sports, CBC Sports app

Australia: Channel 7, 7Plus

New Zealand: Sky, TVNZ

India: Sony LIV

Further streaming details can be found on the Commonwealth Games website here.

You can follow all the action via our live update blog article on Olympics.com.

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