The past six months have presented their own challenges and that is certainly no different for the gymnasts across our Non-Olympic disciplines.
However, despite the many obstacles in their way, they have all worked hard to keep fit, healthy and entertained through lockdown.
Welsh Gymnastics’ Non-Olympic Disciplines Development Officer Maria Gaynor has provided an update on how they’ve all been getting on…
The Welsh tumbling squad, made up of 24 Home Nations and National Development gymnasts from across Wales, have met for weekly conditioning sessions since March over Zoom – with 85 per cent attending every session.
The tumblers have been set challenges with some fabulous results, including a winning poster design from Deeside’s Ciara Evanson.
The squad having really tested themselves through lockdown and, as a result, there have also been some huge improvements in strength and flexibility.
Josh Hunter, who is one of our lead coaches, has been on hand to take some of the sessions, while senior Welsh tumbler and World silver medallist Megan Surman also volunteered her time to do a Q&A with the squad members.
In addition, the tumblers have also engaged in some mental health workshops which has helped further improve and enhance the squad. With physical sessions being unable to resume until 2021, the squad will continue to meet weekly in preparation for next year.
Meanwhile two of our most successful squad members have decided to test themselves in other sports.
Dimax Gymnastics’ Beatrice Morgan, having been Welsh FIG Champion in her age group for two years running and a member of the British Foundation squad, has decided to make the move from tumbling into athletics.
And All Stars Gymnastics Club’s Mia Thomas, the youngest member of our National Development squad, has been selected to take part in the World Dance Cup in 2021.
Lockdown has been particularly difficult for our acrobatic gymnasts.
Acrobatic gymnastics is very much a partnership and group work discipline and, with the current recommendations meaning that a social distance of 2m must be adhered to, gymnasts have to work independently and without the hands-on work that is vital to this fabulous discipline.
All gymnasts have worked extremely hard with the respective clubs and coaches (where possible) while around 15 acro gymnasts also benefited from a live session from Moelwyn acro coach Jordan Dodd.
The Welsh aerobic community have probably been the busiest discipline throughout lockdown, offering live sessions to over 500 young people throughout the UK.
This fast-moving up-tempo discipline has been introduced to eight new clubs and many hundreds of gymnasts.
The disappointment of having to cancel their annual Welsh Championships did not stop the aerobic community from getting involved in all that Welsh Gymnastics had to offer, participating in Gymnastics for All (GfA) dances and activity cards.
Meanwhile the technical panel have worked on developing their strategy, handbook and an individual project to come up with Aerobic Values.
TeamGym’s technical panel have met regularly throughout lockdown and have made firm plans for a complete relaunch of Welsh TeamGym in the new year.
The technical panel are also hoping to make links with other disciplines and make clear and defined transitions between all disciplines, making it easy for gymnasts to transfer into new disciplines and for clubs to offer new disciplines.
We are pleased to announce that Lisa Rose has joined the technical panel in an advisory capacity.
Lisa is the highest qualified TeamGym judge in the UK, bringing a huge amount of experience in a number of gymnastics disciplines to our technical panel and we look forward to developing the discipline with her advising the board.
Moving forward we will be looking for a lead coach and further information will be circulated on social media very soon.
All Non-Olympic discipline handbooks will be ready for publication in late October – watch our social media for further details.
Well done to all our Non-Olympic discipline gymnasts and we look forward to seeing how you now settle back into training as well as watching your slow, phased transition into full training.