SCOTTISH Gymnastics CEO Doc McKelvey has admitted that gymnastics will be one of the toughest sports to return to normality following the coronavirus crisis.

With over 32,000 members in Scotland, of which 85 per cent are female, gymnastics is said key for the future of health and well-being across the country.

All competitions including the Scottish National Championship have been put on hold for the time being, with the Covid-19 pandemic taking centre stage.

And with Scotland’s elite gymnasts having to put their Commonwealth and Olympic Games training on hold, it remains to be seen how the sport will emerge on the other side.

Asked when he expects gymnastics to return to normality, McKelvey said: “It is an impossible question really to put a specific timeline on that.

“All we hear about is the new normal so in terms of the clubs returning we hope there are different options to get different disciplines and different levels of activity back maybe earlier than others.

“I don’t think that is going to be within a matter of weeks, I think it is more likely to be a matter of months really.

“Physical contact takes place as part of gymnastics and that’s in terms of coaches spotting as they go through some of the activities and the moves.

“It could be as simple as helping to lift gymnasts onto the bars, onto the rings or on to other pieces of apparatus.

“Coaches are playing very much a safety role and I fully expect when gymnastics does get back it will be under social distancing guidelines.

“If could be one way systems like you see in the supermarkets, even with the position of the apparatus in the gym and how that can be managed.

“That in itself will lead to challenges in terms of social distancing for the sport going back, but also we have a range of different disciplines.”

He continued: “Artistic for men and women, uses a lot of shared equipment and there will be a lot of spotting in that.

“Then right up to acrobatic gymnastics where it is actually performed in teams of two or three and there really is no way of performing without contact.

“Therefore we have quite a range of things to consider when we return and it is quite likely that that will differ from discipline to discipline.

“It will also differ from club to club in terms of when they will be able to get back.

“One of our disciplines, rhythmic, can be performed and is performed individually and gymnasts tend to use their own equipment within that, so that’s one we may be able to get back to normality a bit quicker.

“We are working with British Gymnastics, Welsh Gymnastics and also our equipment providers to understand what exactly the cleaning regime may need to be and actually can be in terms of products that can actually be used on some of the equipment as well.”

Coaches are being actively encouraged to set online sessions during lockdown but they are limiting training to basic gymnastic skills, flexibility and elements.

Youngsters across Scotland have been keeping themselves active by taking part and as McKelvey explains the hope is that the sport will be as popular as ever when a return to indoor gyms is possible.

He added: “We have a twelve year strategy, which is probably a little bit unique.

“We have come to the first phase of that, membership had seen a dramatic rise over that period and then gymnasts have represented Team GB on the international stage.

“We were very much into phase two which was about continuing that growth, working with our clubs as we have been doing, as well as for the first time, we were going to have a performance programme in every one of our disciplines. But then like everything else we have hit that sudden stop.

“We are around 25 per cent grant funded so we do generate a lot of our own income. That is through our memberships and our events programme, which have obviously had to stop.

“Yes there is a financial impact, we don’t yet know the exact figures of that because again we don’t know when we will be able to get our activities back.

“Gymnastics will thrive, we will get back to gymnastics in what I hope is the near future.”

Doc McKelvey was speaking to Rhona Mcleod, McLeod Media. @RMcleod-Media 

Link to entire interview: