Martine’s Action Pack, a gymnastics club dedicated to Aerobic Gymnastics based in Aberdare, picked up not one but three honours at the 2012 Welsh Gymnastics National Awards, on the 7th December. Action Pack gymnasts Georgia Davies and Phoebe Cheung, who are ranked first and second in Great Britain for their age-group, won Gymnast of the Year and Most Promising Gymnast of the Year respectively, in the Aerobic category.
However it was their coach, Caryl Griffiths, who stole the headlines on the night. In the cross-discipline award, Caryl swooped to win Performance Coach of the Year, which was presented to her by Eddie Van Hoof, the much celebrated coach of the Great Britain Olympic Men’s Team. “For me this was my first coaching award so it was really nice to be recognised,” said Caryl. “I suppose, it did feel like it was a long-time coming. There were four of us shortlisted and when I read their nominations in the programme on the night, I was hopeful I stood a chance of winning.”
The category saw Caryl come up against distinguished Women’s Artistic, Men’s Artistic and Acrobatic Gymnastics coaches, but Caryl’s track record of producing high performance aerobic gymnasts put her in a good position to win the award. Currently all the of Caryl’s elite gymnasts are Welsh and British squad members and have all represented GB internationally this year. At the 2012 French Open her gymnasts produced two international medals and four of her gymnasts were selected for GB at the 2012 World Age Group Championships in Bulgaria. Both Phoebe and Georgia were selected for the GB team that competed in Bulgaria, the duo also scooped a silver medal as a trio alongside team-mate Ceri Payne at the 2012 French Open.
“For them to win awards too made it such a great night it’s nice of course, to be recognised yourself, but it was fantastic for me to see all the girls’ hard work and dedication recognised by Welsh Gymnastics. This has definitely been our most successful year so far, so this has been a great way to celebrate it,” added Caryl.
Caryl has been a coach at Martine’s Action Pack for the last 10 years, and coaches between 12-14 hours a week as well as juggling a full-time job. Caryl has also used her choreography expertise for both Welsh and British squad routines.
“We’ve got gymnasts in the GB and Welsh squads and we’ve got a development squad made up of national level and beginner level gymnasts, so we’ve won lots of medals and competitions over the years.”
The volunteer run club has gymnast’s competing on all four Aerobic gymnastic levels, Recreational, Grass Roots, National and International. It is this four tier set-up which has yielded them such success. Martine’s Action Pack has a very clear two-part vision, to increase participation in the discipline encouraging young people in the Valleys’ communities and in Wales to be involved with Aerobic Gymnastics, for fun and fitness. Through increasing participation Caryl can keep producing elite gymnasts to represent Wales and Great Britain on the Aerobic World Stage, and keep winning medals.
Report by Jake Wright: Welsh Gymnastics