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Welsh Gymnastics welcomes the easing of restrictions by the Welsh Government – as of today (22 June) – in order to enable the return to training for elite level athletes.

Over the past four weeks, we have been working closely with the Welsh Government, Sport Wales, Team Wales, the Welsh Sports Association, British Gymnastics and other National Governing Bodies to produce a proposal outlining how and when elite athletes can safely return to training.

Following last Friday’s announcement and, in line with Welsh Government guidelines, our first cohort of gymnasts – those senior individuals who can challenge for nomination for 2022 Commonwealth Games – will begin to return to gymnastics training this week.

Following a consultation process involving those eligible gymnasts, their coaches and clubs, a group of seven gymnasts have – or will soon – return to training in phases at the Sport Wales National Centre across the Women’s Artistic, Rhythmic and Men’s Artistic disciplines.

Comprehensive protocols have been put in place to ensure social distancing is kept, medical screening is in place, and regular cleaning procedures are undertaken.

As part of the consultation process, gymnasts were talked through each step of the return to training procedures with the Welsh Gymnastics performance and medical staff and then given the option to ‘opt in’ to a return to training on an individual basis, with all decisions fully supported by the programme.

Jo Coombs, Welsh Gymnastics Head of Performance, said: “I’m thrilled elite sport now has the opportunity to start its gradual return in Wales. 

“Similarly to British Gymnastics, this is a significant step for the sport and only relates to a very small group within our Commonwealth disciplines. However, in getting to this stage and having all the necessary processes and protocols in place, I would like to thank our coaches and Sport Wales staff for the team approach in making this happen. 

“During this whole period of lockdown, our gymnasts in all our elite programmes have engaged fully with us, showing what gymnastics means to them. And, whilst the training sessions will be different and very gradual, I have no doubt this small group of gymnasts will approach this return in a very positive and responsible manner. 

“It is important in this initial phase we build confidence in the sport so that, when the time is right, we are able to provide opportunities for more elite athletes to return to the gym and clubs to re-open their doors.”

With elite training now underway for this group, Welsh Gymnastics continues to prepare for a return to training for our elite programmes across all disciplines, as well as the wider community, as soon as Welsh Government guidelines allow.

Support and guidance for all our members and clubs can be found in the recent publication of our Step Forward Plan.

To read the joint Sport Wales and Team Wales statement on the return to training for elite athletes, click here.