We are hugely disappointed that the Executive has decided to enforce a further two week lockdown on the sporting sector.
Starting from 12.01am on Friday 27th November, no indoor or outdoor sport will be permitted, other than at elite level*. For more information on elite level in gymnastics, see below.
As a result, clubs will need to remain closed until the measures are lifted. Exemptions that were previously made for outdoor gymnastics, individual one-to-one training and soft play baby and toddler sessions are no longer exempt under the new restrictions. The full regulations are still to be published so we will review these as the situation evolves for any exceptions that may apply.
The gymnastics community has been very patient over the last few months and we know clubs have worked tirelessly to create environments that curb the spread of the virus and make it safe for gymnastics to take place.
The announcement of further restrictions is a huge concern for the physical and mental wellbeing of many children who would normally benefit from taking part in gymnastics. As a sport, gymnastics helps develop core skills at a very early age and encourages habits that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. The suspension of grass roots sport could have a long lasting impact on thousands of children in Northern Ireland and could have a negative effect on the health sector.
We will continue to lobby the government to review these measures and to consider the impact that this will have on the physical and mental health of participants. We’re also aware of the further financial difficulty that this will cause and so we will continue to update you on what financial support is, and will be made, available through our communication channels. Some of this support can be found on NI Direct.
Until measure are eased, we hope that you can continue to engage with your members in other ways, through online activity and video sessions. More support related to this, particularly around gymnastics at home activities, can be found on our Step Forward area.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 define an ‘elite athlete’ as an individual who:
(i) derives a living from competing in a sport,
(ii) plays in a professional league or competition
(iii) is a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body
(iv) is a member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body, or
(v) is aged 16 or above and on an elite development pathway
Note: To be eligible for claiming elite status under (iii), (iv), (v) the athlete must be identified by the sporting body as a candidate for Tokyo Olympic Games 2021, Tokyo Paralympic Games 2021, European Championship, World Championship, or Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.
Please note, this applies to both GBR and IRL gymnasts.
Gymnastics Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Criteria:
To be considered an elite athlete training towards the Commonwealth Games 2022 (MAG/WAG/RHY) gymnasts must be aged 16 or above and able to provide:
1. Evidence of a place on a senior squad* (GBR/IRL)
2. Evidence of placing in the top 8 apparatus/top 24 (AA) at an Senior** FIG standard event between April 2019-March 2020 where another Commonwealth Federation was present (e.g. British Championships, Challenge Cup, London Open, Home Nations event.)
*Evidence of a gymnasts’ place on a squad must be provided in writing from either British Gymnastics or Gymnastics Ireland
**Junior results will be considered if the gymnast was not a Senior during this period of time
British Gymnastics will also consider as an elite athlete (this requires dispensation to be approved by Sport NI):
Please note, this applies to both GBR and IRL gymnasts. Evidence must be provided in writing from either British Gymnastics or Gymnastics Ireland.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of the athletes within this criteria who you wish to continue training or for any questions or queries regarding the above.
All clubs will be required to follow the existing Step Forward Plan guidance and ensure social distancing is maintained, regular cleaning of the facility/equipment is carried out, frequent hand washing/sanitising is in place and no contact is permitted between coach and gymnast or gymnast and gymnast. Pits are also not to be in use.