Melvin Edwards, president of Western Cape Gymnastics, says his sport is in as good a position it can be under the current circumstances brought about by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown that led to a ban on competitions and training sessions.
He says currently the provincial executive committee is busy planning for a program as per normal next year. They are planning to open business on 3 January and kick off the competition season in April, totally depending on lockdown and the level that goes with that regulation.
Our program managers, who are the people who run our various competitions, were asked to draw up standard operating procedures on how to run competitions during Covid-19 and lockdown. Each discipline has its own challenges with regard to sharing apparatus, but we are busy putting together standard operating procedures and we are optimistic about getting it right.
I am very happy with the current state of affairs. The Western Cape Gymnastics Federation has been very blessed and lucky with regard to a return to play. Most of our high-level gymnasts as well as the mainstream and beginners have returned to play.
Not any of our clubs were forced to close down because of Covid-19 and none of our gymnasts or coaches were affected by contracting the virus. All our clubs that are operating currently have complied to Covid-19 regulations.
We know because they have to submit a monthly report to our provincial compliance officers in order to get a new compliance certificate to operate the following month.
At national level we are busy putting together a virtual competition which will be coming up shortly. Clubs have been encouraged to host clubs events and displays. The displays are basically to demonstrate the skills the gymnasts have learned through the year to parents and other interested parties.
We will not have a Western Cape championships this year, as most clubs will be going on Christmas holidays at the end of November. The national competition will be a virtual one and any gymnast can enter, so there is no need for a district or provincial championship.
Under normal circumstances our provincial championships would be the qualifying competition for the nationals.
For the virtual national competition, a panel of judges will be selected. The gymnasts will compete at their clubs and will make a video of them competing. The videos have to be submitted on a specific due date, then it will be judged, and scores will be populated on a final scoresheet.
The national rankings will then be based on that scoresheet. The nice thing about a virtual competition is that the gymnast can do his or her routine in a relaxed environment and his or her coach has the option of sending in a video of the best routine.
It also gives any gymnast the chance to show off his or her skills and compete against the rest of the country – something that would maybe not have happened under normal circumstances.
For more information about Western Cape Gymnastics, visit http://www.westerncapegymnastics.com/