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British Gymnastics attracts 1,500 disabled members

By Matthew Campelli    15 Jun 2016
More than 200 coaches have benefitted from support and mentoring to guide disabled participants / Sasha Samandzija/Shutterstock.com

A British Gymnastics programme to make the sport more open to disabled participants has attracted 1,500 people to become members.

The governing body’s I’m In campaign – which is being funded by Sport England – creates “high quality opportunities” for disabled people to take part in gymnastics.

Now, more than 200 affiliated clubs offer gymnastics to people with physical or learning disabilities, sensory impairments or health conditions.

Since launching in 2013, the programme has offered specialist coaching support and mentoring to other clubs that want to become inclusive, with more than 200 coaches benefitting from learning new skills. Over the two-year period, clubs have run 75 taster days with nearly 850 disabled people trying the sport for the first time – with one in four of those attending becoming regular club members.

Patrick Bonner, British Gymnastics disability manager, said reaching 1,500 members was a “fantastic achievement”.

“We want to keep building on this and continue to connect even more disabled people to our sport,” he added. “We are on a mission to show disabled people that gymnastics is inclusive. We hope to encourage even more disabled people to get involved and enjoy the many physical and social benefits.”

British Gymnastics has been recognised by FIG, the world governing body for gymnastics, as being at the “forefront of delivering and developing disability gymnastics”. In 2015, the organisation helped develop the South African disability gymnastics programme and Brazil will be the next nation to benefit from Britain’s expertise.

“The quality and number of opportunities for disabled people to participate in British gymnastics clubs continues to grow year-on-year, so we are extremely pleased to see a commitment to inclusion on this scale which is helping disabled people to start, stay and succeed in gymnastics,” added Lindsay Games, head of disability at Sport England.

British Gymnastics  gymnastics  para-sport  Sport England 
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