On the couch and armchairs of her parents’ house located in the outskirts of the city of Pointe-Noire, Congo’s commercial capital that the young Astride Mikoko took her first steps in gymnastics- Gymnastic movements that she performed from the age of five.
Since then her passion has remained attached despite the fears and prohibitions of her parents, who eventually came to terms with her talent.
“We have the means to feed her, clothe her and support her studies. That is why we ask God to give us a sponsor who can help her. ” Badila Anaise, Astride’s mother explained.
In 2014, Astride Mikoko took part in her first competition, and the departmental championships of Pointe-Noire followed, allowing her to win several medals.
“At the first competition, I was second and I got the silver medal. In the second competition, I took first place with the gold medal and in the third event, I finished third”, the Congolese gymnast said of her wins.
In her late twenties, Astride Mikoko dreams of a professional career in rhythmic gymnastics, both nationally and beyond the borders of the Congo.
And it is to achieve her dream Astride the 28 year old has devoted her time for more training sessions. Bertoni Nganga is Astride’s coach. Nganga is very proud of his gymnast.
“It’s my best choice, because when I coach children it’s to develop certain things so that I can see them cross other boundaries”.
Despite the inadequate and difficult preparation conditions, Astride is holding on.
“I want to go further, where art is really known, to show the world that in Congo, there is also talent” she says.
For Miamonika Tetani Jean, Pointe noire’s Technical Director of Gymnastics. the wish or dream is for “a** gymnasiums to be built in Pointe-Noire to allow our athletes to work in better conditions”.**
While waiting for this to happen, the gymnasts in Pointe noire are armed with courage and will to continue their learning in the hopes of a bright future.