#TuksGymnastics: Ruan Lange sets his own goal for the FISU World University Games in China

Posted on July 28, 2023

Gymnastics is undoubtedly one of the ultimate sports.

There cannot be an argument about it. To be competitive, you must be fearless. It is all about mind over body. A millisecond of lost focus could cost points or lead to getting injured. So there is never any margin for error.

It is precisely why Tuks BSc Sports Science student, Ruan Lange, fell in love with gymnastics. He is not the first in his family to have done so. His grandfather, Leonard Schutte, also competed as a gymnast.

"My granddad could have been a Springbok, but I am unsure," Lange said.

The Tuks student has his own claim to fame. In 2018, he competed at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and made history by winning gold. Lange is the first South African gymnast to do so. He was part of the Simon Biles team that won gold in the NOC multi-discipline team competition. Needless to say, being Biles's teammate is something he will never forget.

For those who don't know, Biles is considered by many to be one of the best-ever female gymnasts. She won five gold medals at the Olympic Games and 19 at the World Championships. 

Biles is the most decorated gymnast in the history of the World Championships.

From next week on, Lange will compete at the World Student Summer Games in Chengdu, China. The Tuks student is realistic about what awaits him.

"I would love to say I am in with a chance of medaling, but I am not. Still, it does not mean I am only there to make up numbers. I met my personal goals. If I get to achieve them, it is my mission accomplished."

When watching gymnastics, one can't help but be continuously amazed by what the human body is capable of. But how does one conquer fear when doing these "stunts"?

Lange says overcoming fear is easier than many might think.

"I won't lie. I had my teeth chattering moments when I had to execute a new move for the first time. But once you have done so, you realise it was not as bad as expected.

"Funnily enough, I never got injured the first time I did any move. When you do something a few times, you start to err, perhaps because of overconfidence. That is when you get injured. The worst thing that has happened to me is breaking an arm. The one time I cut my head open, hitting the bar."

Lange has a good reason for studying sports science. He wants to make a career of it. His aim is to become an International Master Coach. 

Lisa Conradie is the other Tuks gymnast that will be competing at the World University Games in China.

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