From today, gymnasts in Northern Ireland can begin their journey back to indoor gymnastics sessions through the resumption of individual training. Following the Executive’s latest announcement, here is some further information around the return of indoor sport, the reintroduction of pits, outdoor sessions, our elite criteria and contact activities.
From today, individual activities are permitted in gyms, swimming pools and other indoor leisure facilities – including with a carer and to allow 1-2-1 training/coaching with social distancing. From our understanding, this means that gymnasts can take part in one-to-one sessions with their coach.
There must be a parent/carer or the club welfare officer/appropriately trained safeguarding individual present who can see and hear all of the session. One-to-one sessions can include more than one gymnast if they come from the same household e.g. two siblings with one coach. Multiple individual training sessions/ one-to-one sessions can take place if space permits, venue capacity is not exceeded and social distancing is adhered to. Where multiple one-to-one sessions are taking place, the club welfare officer, or a suitably trained safeguarding individual who is not coaching, must be present and be able to see and hear all of the sessions. Coaches are not able to supervise multiple gymnasts training at once. Each gymnast must have a coach present for individual training.
If your club needs support calculating your venue's capacity, you can download our Capacity Guidance resource here.
The Executive have given a provisional date of Monday 24th May for the return of indoor group activities. Their next review of the restrictions is taking place on Thursday 13th May where we hope to learn more about the next step.
Reintroduction of pits
Clubs can now reintroduce foam pits as part of sessions after research concluded that the risk of Covid-19 transmission in foam was low after one minute. Guidance on how to use pits safely whilst reducing the risk of transmission of the virus can be read here.
Clubs can continue to undergo group outdoor sessions with their gymnasts. Individual groups should be no larger than 15 gymnasts including coaches. Supervisory adults e.g. an additional parent/carer, coach (who are not taking part in the activity) do not need to be included in the numbers if they stand outside of the group, but are in sight of the activity.
Multiple groups may train at the same time if groups remain separate and no mixing or joining of groups takes place. Where possible coaches and gymnasts should remain with the same group to reduce the risk of transmission.
More information on this can be read on our Outdoor Activity Guidance page
Following the updated Elite Athlete definition within the regulations, we have consulted with the British Gymnastics Performance team and have updated our criteria for gymnasts on an elite development pathway in Northern Ireland to:
To be considered an elite athlete training towards the Commonwealth Games 2022 (MAG/WAG/RHY) gymnasts must be age eligible for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and able to provide:
*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.
Clubs will need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of the athletes within this criteria who they wish to continue training. Any questions or queries regarding the above should also be sent on to this address.
Team Sport and contact coaching
We hope that once we have a date confirmed for the return of indoor group sessions, we will be able to share with the community guidance around team sport and a phased return for contact coaching. Our guidance is currently in line with the Team Sport and Return to Coach Contact Frameworks being adopted in England at the moment, but implementation in Northern Ireland will be subject to any restrictions that the Executive put in place. We will share more news on this as soon as we can so that clubs are able to prepare for when groups can return indoors.