Laylah Waggie once again asserted her national dominance when she won 5 gold medals on her way to becoming New Zealand’s 2019 Rhythmic Gymnastics champion.
Having claimed the title in 2017 and 2018, this is her 3rd consecutive win, despite suffering a serious lower back injury that nearly brought her gymnastics career to an end.
She won first place gold medals in the Rope, Ball, Clubs, Ribbon and Goth.
Of course, since both of her parents are from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, this is also a win for South Africa and testament to the country’s potential to dominate on the international sporting stage.
In July, Laylah also made history when she became one of two gymnasts that represented New Zealand at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships’ very first Junior Division competition.
After 7 years of being New Zealand’s top young gymnast, this will be the 15 year old’s last competition as a Junior and from next year, she will be competing in the Senior Division.
Her grandfather, Ruthewaan Waggie, says that as “one of the very few gymnasts of colour” competing in what is considered to be an “elite sport of the privileged”, Laylah has “always been viewed as an inspiration for other gymnasts of colour”.
He says that she also serves as an inspiration to New Zealand’s Maori people because they view her as “representing their own”.
Given her diverse background as a New Zealand born person of colour whose heritage stretches back to the Cape Flats, she hopes to inspire people into challenging the various stereotypes that hinders the growth of people of colour and immigrants.
Going forward, Laylah’s gymnastics schedule is filled.
She will soon be leaving for Japan where she will be competing in the Aeon World Asian Rythmic gymnastics championship on the 21st of October.