Following the success of the 2016 Paralympic Games and the incredible achievements of Paralympic athletes across all sports, British Gymnastics have enlisted four Disability Gymnastics Ambassadors to act as inspiring role models within Disability Gymnastics. Included in this group of Ambassadors is Skye Swinton who is a young recreational gymnast with Cerebral Palsy.
British Gymnastics is world renowned and recognised by the International Gymnastics Federation for its disability gymnastics programme that ensures gymnastics is adapted to suit the needs of each gymnast.
Since the launch of the I’M IN programme over three years ago, an increasing number of gymnastics clubs have committed to developing inclusive opportunities.
To support programmes and to inspire more disabled people to get involved in the sport, British Gymnastics are showcasing the opportunities that exist for everyone in gymnastics, from recreational, grassroots gymnastics up to elite levels.
The Disability Gymnastics Ambassadors are sharing their story and encouraging others to give it a try. The Ambassadors speak about their experience in gymnastics, what they have achieved and what they love about it. They tell other disabled people how inclusive they have found gymnastics to be, in clubs up and down the country. The Ambassadors show that disability is not a barrier, and they act as inspiring role models within Disability Gymnastics.
Disability: Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Diplegia)
Club: Rowan Gymnastics Club
At the age of 3, Skye’s mum took her to her to Rowan Gymnastics Club to try Pre-school Gymnastics and to try out some of their fantastic equipment. It was the first sport that Skye had tried, with her doctor recommending exercise as part of her physiotherapy. Four years later she has moved into the junior class and now takes part in recreational gymnastics classes week in, week out.
“Gymnastics is so much fun. I have lots of friends within my club and it helps me to get stronger. When I find things hard, my coaches help me. They make sure I’m included in all of the class activities; adapting exercises slightly if I’m finding them hard.”
Within Rowan Gymnastics Club’s recreational classes, there are a number of opportunities for all gymnasts to progress, compete and perform.
“My club runs a recreational gymnastics competition each year which I’ve taken part in and I’ve also enjoyed entering our local festival for disabled gymnasts and trampolinists. I’ve won a total of 4 gold medals and a bronze and am also proud to have earned my first 2 British Gymnastics’ Core Proficiency Awards (numbers 8 and 7).”
Skye continues to excel within gymnastics and proves that disability is not a barrier to taking part, but her success won’t stop there! She’s ambitious and determined to continue to improve. Skye’s goals are to be able to balance on a beam without anyone holding her and one day would like to be able to do the splits.
Confident that there are opportunities for everyone of every ability to succeed within gymnastics, Skye’s advice to other disabled people is that “it might be a bit tricky at first, but you will get better. Don’t let a disability hold you back, just try your best as it is great fun!”
The other Disability Ambassadors include:
Club: Jersey Special Gymnastics Club
Disability: Physical Disability and Visual Impairment
Club: Hereford Sparks Gymnastics Club
Disability: Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
Club: The Wire Gymnastics Club
For further information please visit Discover Gymnastics