Jennifer Khwela


She has the grace of a ballerina and the raw strength of a rugby prop. Nineteen-year-old gymnast Jennifer Khwela has plenty of gutsy determination, too. In 2010 Khwela won South Africa's first gold medal in an international artistic gymnastics competition when she vaulted into top position at the Doha World Cup. She also grabbed silver at the Commonwealth Games: the ony able-bodied black South African gymnast ever to win an individual medal. But it hasn't been easy. Khwela, who hails from Umbilo near Durban, was already nine years old when she began her career. She's had to work hard to catch up. "I don't have many friends,� she says, "and there's no time for holidays.� Khwela is currently nursing a wrist injury, but she is adamant that it won't keep her grounded for long. She has her sights set on the World Cup in Korea in July and nothing short of gold will do. �Ngoako Matsha

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