Reinstate Disability Masters at the British Artistic Gymnastics Championships
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On 24th July we were informed that British Gymnastics had taken the decision to discontinue the Disability Masters division within this event for 2020 and beyond at this stage.
Their rationale for this was as follows:
‘This division was introduced into the Artistic British Championships several years ago to help raise the profile for opportunities for gymnasts to take part in disability competitions. It was also hoped that this would grow the number of clubs and gymnasts who could participate at national level.
When analysing the number of clubs and gymnasts who have participated over the past few years in the Disability Masters, it is evident that there is little or no growth in numbers and the athletes are drawn from a very small number of clubs that limits the potential of the competition at this level.’
We believe their analysis of the data is flawed for the following reasons;During 2019 Many disability gymnasts were also invited to attend the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi, as you would expect this gymnasts prioritised an international competition over a national one.
There is a mximum number of 8 MAG and 8 WAG selected by British Gymnastics! so it would be challenging to increase these numbers. The number of different clubs competing in the 2019 Master saw a increase of 45%. With new clubs and gymnasts competing for the first time within both MAG & WAG.
Looking at the growth in National Competitions then we need to be looking at the Disability British Championships, where the gymnasts qualified for the Masters. From 2013 there has been year on year increases of participation at the Disability British Championships, apart from 1 year when the event clashed with another Special Olympics competition. Last year there was a 26% increase on 2017
We believe that if this event is removed there will be a decline in the number of disability gymnasts as young Disability Gymnasts will not see their counterparts competing in a big arena alongside their mainstream counterparts. Not only that, but the Disability Masters is the ultimate goal for many Disability gymnasts and without it they have nothing to aim for which may result in them leaving the sport.
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