In line with the UK Government guidelines regarding a return to training for elite athletes, our first cohort of gymnasts - those in contention for Tokyo Olympic qualification - have begun to return to gymnastics training this week.
Following a consultation process involving those eligible gymnasts, their coaches and clubs, a group of gymnasts have - or will soon - return to light training in a number of identified training environments including Lilleshall National Sports Centre.
Comprehensive protocols have been put in place across all identified training environments 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 British 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.
James Thomas, British Gymnastics Performance Director: "We recognise that this is a significant step within our sport but also in context understand that at this point it is a ‘return to training’ for only a very small group of gymnasts.
"Working through the return to training processes and protocols has been a fantastic group effort between our staff, the gymnasts, clubs and coaches. Each gymnast has had online meetings with their respective head national coach to develop a training plan that will initially see them undertake very basic and short sessions as they need time to build their skills and gymnastics fitness back up. We will be monitoring every session, providing advice and assistance every step of the way to support a safe return."
British Gymnastics Athlete Representative Kristian Thomas added: "As an athlete ambassador it has been a pleasure to be a part of the return to training collaboration working alongside the gymnasts, staff, coaches and clubs to ensure everyone can return in the safest possible way. The flexibility to ‘opt in’ leaves everyone with a choice to take on board their personal circumstances whilst knowing they have the full support of British Gymnastics and the performance programme."
With elite training now underway for this group, British Gymnastics continues to prepare for a return to gymnastics training for our elite programmes across all gymnastics disciplines, as well as the wider community, as soon as the UK Government guidelines allow.
Support and guidance for all our members and clubs can be found in the recent publication of our ‘Step Forward’ plan.