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Jennifer Nesbitt

Jennifer Nesbitt

Welsh Gymnastics are proud to announce that it has been awarded the insport Gold standard for National Governing Bodies (NGBs) by Disability Sport Wales.

Presented to Welsh Gymnastics by Lyndon Williams and Tom Rogers of Disability Sport Wales at the National Women’s Artistic training facility in Sport Wales, the award is further recognition for the organisation’s work around disability and inclusion – and the ongoing commitment to ensuring opportunities for all within the sport of gymnastics.

It also follows on from previous achieved milestones along the insport journey over a 10-year period having already been awarded the Ribbon in June 2013, Bronze in February 2014 and Silver in two years later.

In achieving the insport Gold standard, Welsh Gymnastics also becomes only the second NGB in Wales to do so.

But the journey doesn’t end here.

Bev Smith, Chair of Welsh Gymnastics, said: “We’re delighted and extremely proud to be recognised for the work we have done on our journey to date by being awarded the Gold standard.

“But it’s always been about just that, the journey, and we’re not about to start resting on our laurels; we’ll continue working hard to develop even more opportunities and to champion inclusivity.

“We’ve got incredibly committed people across our community; our staff, clubs and coaches who have worked tirelessly to help us deliver opportunities for people with disabilities within our sport and to demonstrate that it really is about gymnastics for all in Wales.”

There are now 52 insport gymnastics clubs across Wales – including seven Gold standards clubs.

The annual Rotary Welsh Schools Disability Competition, supported by a more than 30-year association with the Rotary, continues to thrive – even through two challenging Covid-hit years and this year attracted more than 1,000 entries.

Meanwhile as an organisation, everyone is a champion for inclusion with ownership and accountability fully embedded into roles and workplans across the organisation.

This shared ethos is summed up perfectly by Welsh Gymnastics Pathway Manager Maria Gaynor, who heads up the organisation’s schools disability programme.

She said: “All our disciplines are now fully inclusive now; there’s an option for children with any complexity or disability to take part and just be part of the day as well.

“Gym, for me, isn’t just about winning medals, it’s not just about participation, every child that takes part in a competition does so because they have an end goal; if it’s stand up from a forward roll, if it’s to do some big fancy move on the floor or an aerobic floor or whatever it may be.

“Watching them achieve is enough and that’s what drives us and, if I can offer it and make it available to more people then that’s what I’ll do!”  

Tom Rogers, Governance and Partnership Manager for Disability Sport Wales, said: “Welsh Gymnastics have demonstrated a continued commitment to the growth of inclusive and disability specific provision, while working to effectively support their club network to deliver sector leading inclusive provision.

“Having worked alongside them as they have progressed against the insport NGB standards, they have consistently aimed to develop areas of best practice and to support partners with shared goals.

“In successfully achieving the insport NGB Gold award, Welsh Gymnastics, alongside a strong network of inclusive community clubs, have clearly demonstrated a commitment to make their sport a community for everyone. As a result, disabled people interested in participating, coaching, and volunteering in gymnastics can be confident that they will enjoy a welcoming and valuable experience.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with Welsh Gymnastics as they continue to develop the opportunities for everyone to take part in gymnastics, and the goal of ensuring that gymnastics is fully inclusive.”

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