Somersaults all round as Ballymena gymnasts return to Valdez Club

Shaun Oneill


Shaun Oneill


GYMNASTS from Ballymena, and hundreds of thousands of gymnasts across the UK who have been unable to train in their usual setting since March, are delighted to be back in the gym having been given the green light to return.

Valdez Gymnastics Club had to adapt their training during lock down, introducing Zoom sessions and altering their gymnastics to focus on conditioning, flexibility and the basic skills required in the sport.

They reopened their doors in mid July and are absolutely thrilled to be back in the gym.

Julie Vauls, Gym Manager, said it is “absolutely fantastic being back.”

“Everyone was so excited and the last couple of weeks have been such a blast,” outlined Julie.

“Our gymnasts have come back stronger, more flexible and in better condition thanks to their hard work during lock down.”

Before reopening the club had increased cleaning frequency, including having their gym deep cleaned, and have also introduced new measures to ensure a Covid-safe environment.

One way system

Entry and exit were already accessed through a one-way system but hand sanitising, closed changing rooms and taped markings throughout the gym for social distancing are also now in place.

Julie added: “We’ve also had to adapt some of our exercises to ensure social distancing and now have limited classes in the gym at any one time, but it’s working really well so far.

“The resources we’ve received from British Gymnastics as part of their Step Forward Plan have been brilliant – they provided a huge range of signage to use throughout the gym to remind gymnasts of social distancing, hygiene, where to enter and exit and it shows parents that we’re working closely with British Gymnastics on the sport’s safe return.”

British Gymnastics President Helen Phillips MBE, said the hard work of all the staff and coaches at Valdez Gymnastics Club is superb to see and it is great news that they are safely welcoming their gymnasts back to the sport that they love.

“Many young gymnasts have missed their friends and clubmates terribly over the past four months and will be overjoyed to be going back to their local club,” said Helen.

“All across the country, so many clubs have done amazing work to get ready to reopen in a Covid-safe environment.”

The President said it is time to get back to gymnastics, renew friendships and get active. “Gymnastics is community sport and our clubs are at the heart of it,” she concluded.

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