FIG Artistic Gymnastics Age Group Programme
Abuja (NGR), March 18-22, 2013
Pretoria (RSA), March 20-24, 2013
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, March 26, 2013: Two of seven 5-day FIG Age Group Programme Camps for Artistic Gymnastics on the African continent were completed over the weekend in Nigeria and in South Africa.
NIGERIA: The camp in Nigeria was hosted by the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria in the planned and new capital city of Abuja from March 18-22 and within the impressive gymnasium in the National Sport Complex.
Thirty Nigerian coaches from all parts of the country attended. Sixteen particiapted for Men’s (MAG) and fourteen for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG). The various coaches provided thirty-five demonstator gymnasts of all ages and abilities. Nigeria has an enormous population and a large pool of potentially super gymnasts.
FIG leader and expert for the camp was well-known and enthusiastic gymnastics educator and coaching blogger Rick McCharles of Canada. In recent months he had led five other such age group camps. Unfortunately, this time he had to teach alone as the second expert appointed by the FIG could not get an entry visa in time. A Nigerian coach, Rose Verissimo worked diligently and excellently to help with the WAG portions of the camp.
Thanks go to the advance and on-site efforts of Secretary General Mrs. Akande “Miriam” Motunrayo who assured the huge success of this camp.
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.
SOUTH AFRICA: The FIG Age Group Camp in Pretoria, South Africa was for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics only and was held from March 20-24. It was hosted in the national training centre known as the SAGF National Academy of Gymnastics in Pretoria.
Twenty-one coaches from every part of South Africa attended. Twenty were South African and one was a coach from the USA working in Durban. Twenty-five excellent and well-prepared boys served as demonstrators.
The men’s programme of South Africa had made a concerted effort to begin to introduce FIG Age Group Programme after its introduction to them a year earlier. That familiarity with the programme facilitated every part of the practical sessions and provided excellent feedback.
The FIG leader and expert for the camp was Hardy Fink, the Director of FIG Education & Academy Programmes.
South Africa has among the most advanced and well-prepared gymnasts and also among the most educated coaches from among the 25 countries to which this programme is being introduced. For that reason, it was possible to also explore the higher levels of the technical skills testing program and the higher levels of the compulsory exercises.
Allan Chadwick who serves as the MAG Technical Chairman for South Africa handled all of the pre-camp organisation. Thanks also to the onsite assistance and preparation by Gheorge Hristov who is in charge of the training centre. The camp was highly successful and has served to energize the coaches to make greater progress in the near future.
The FIG 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 Spanish edition of the published programme and manual was used at both camps.
These two five-day camps In Nigeria and South Africa 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.
In the coming week, three such Age Group Training Camps will be conducted at the same time in three different African countries. Two of them will be French language camps in Congo and Senegal and one will be an English language camp with Portuguese translation in Mozambique.