British Gymnastics have been working closely with UK Sport and our fellow National Governing Bodies on guidelines and protocols regarding a return to training for our elite athletes.
We are grateful to the UK Government and DCMS who provided recent ‘phase one’ guidance that enables us to now further shape our own ‘return to training’ plans and begin to work towards enabling elite gymnasts to return to gymnastics training.
The UK Government guidelines are clear in stating that British Gymnastics will be responsible for identifying and communicating to the elite athlete cohort of gymnasts eligible for phase one and that this group of gymnasts must be selected based upon their ability to contend for Tokyo 2020 qualification and selection. The phase one UK Government guidelines therefore apply only to Olympic gymnastics disciplines at this stage.
We are now in a process of working methodically through this guidance and liaising with our partners to develop a practical plan that puts the safety of all gymnasts, coaches and staff as the overriding priority.
We are consulting with gymnasts, coaches, and clubs over the types of steps that may need to be completed and the protocols that would need to be followed to allow training to recommence.
James Thomas, British Gymnastics Performance Director: “Overall we view this is a positive step forward as we know many of our elite gymnasts have been waiting for this news and we are committed to working closely with them as we put in place the best plans to return to the safest training environment possible.
Our process is now at the consultation stage and will move to review and sign off once approved by an athlete, coach and club panel as part of which timelines will be determined to then implement the processes needed to return to training. At all points our athletes will have full ownership and choice in any return to training and we will fully support each individual throughout this process.”
Whilst the UK Government guidelines apply to England, we are working closely with Home Nations on its possible future application and devolved government guidelines.
We reiterate that the guidance so far applies solely to a nominated group of Tokyo 2020 eligible gymnasts but hope that a successful ‘phase one’ will form a great basis for us to then quickly accelerate wider training once the government allows.
Only elite athletes and their personal coaches identified as part of this phase one programme will be authorised and insured to train in the duly sanctioned gymnastics club environments. As per the current government guidelines, no other gymnastics activity or training should be taking place either in clubs or anywhere else with the exception of British Gymnastics created or endorsed fitness and conditioning activity designed to be delivered in the home. No insurance is in place for any other activity.
British Gymnastics will continue to provide all relevant information applicable to the wider gymnastics communities as soon as the UK Government publish such guidance.