FIG Artistic Gymnastics Age Group Programme
Sana’a (YEM), December 17 – 21, 2012
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, January 7, 2013: In the week before Christmas, on December 17-21, Yemen hosted the third of a series of FIG Age Group Programme training camps in the city of Sana’a. This camp followed a Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) camp in Saudi Arabia and a Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics camp in Qatar. The training camp was for MAG only as Yemen does not formally train female gymnasts at this time.
The FIG expert for this camp was once again well-known and enthusiastic gymnastics educator and coaching blogger Rick McCharles of Canada. He had recently used the content of the Age Group Programme for the focus of an Africa Zone 2 training camp in Senegal and was leader for this three-week three-country Age Group Programme Camp tour that featured the participation of 37 coaches from 14 different countries.
These camps are intended to expose as many coaches as possible from the host country to the FIG Age Group Programme so that it will be implemented and understood uniformly.
Fifteen Yemeni coaches attended the camp and enthusiastically participated in all practical in-gym sessions and the overview theory-lectures though their punctuality was not the best.
The Age Group Programme includes a testing and monitoring programme for MAG and WAG physical abilities and technical skills as well as a complete competition programme with modified optional rules for age-group gymnasts and compulsory exercises for all ages. It also includes a variety of additional information related to developing a systematic gymnastics programme that can lead to high performance. The programme was developed by Hardy Fink (CAN) for the competition programme, Dieter Hofmann (GER) for the testing programme and Carol-Angela Orchard (CAN) for the dance and choreographic content. The just completed second edition of the published programme and manual was used at this camp.
The five-day camp focused primarily on practical work in the gymnasium with coaches and their gymnasts on the various technical and physical tests, the compulsory exercises and the modified optional rules. Some theory background was provided to promote the FIG philosophy of protecting gymnasts during the growth years.
Abdulmalik “Malik” Alkebsi served as main translator and handler during the camp to assure that all needs were met. The gymnasium was reasonably well equipped but some of the apparatus was quite deteriorated or non-existent. A wide range of talented gymnasts served as demonstrators.
Recent political problems in Yemen have made foreign visits and such education opportunities a rarity. The Yemen Gymnastics Federation was therefore very pleased that the FIG offered this training camp in their country and served as excellent hosts and excellent organisers for the event. Even the Minister of Sport visited and spoke with praise about the programme.
The FIG Education initiatives will not rest in 2013. On January 14 a Rhythmic Academy will begin in Azerbaijan and another Age Group Training Camp in Indonesia on the same day followed by three more camps in Malaysia, Jordan and Singapore, all before the end of the month.