On the 29th of January 2015, 172enthusiastic young competitors from 10 secondary schools across Rhondda CynonTaff converged on Abercynon Sport Centre for what turned out to be an intenseday of competition. With three age categories from year 7 – 10, for males andfemales, there was a prize for which everyone could aspire.
Competitors were required to show abroad range of skills from a voluntary tumble routine, which included some veryimpressive cartwheels and round offs, to a set vault routine which saw youngathletes flying gracefully through the air whilst performing an intricate blendof complex movements and body shapes. Nomatter where you turned, your gaze was met with the faces of determined youngpeople warming up, competing or simply laughing time away with their friendsand coaches. This is no surprise, no matter what competition the 5×60 Officers(Youth Engagement and Participation Service) deliver there is always a buzz ofexcitement and a feeling of joy for everyone; this competition only went with thetrend.
‘I love organising the RCT 5X60 gymnastics competitioneach year, and this year’s competition was by far the most successful to date.This year we had more competitors than ever before, it ran perfectly ontime and we had judges, who volunteered their time from local gymnastics clubsincluding Cwm Gymnastics (Abercynon), RSD (Treforest) and St Tydfils (MerthyrTydfil). It was wonderful to see so many young people showing off theirgymnastics talents and enjoying the sport. Many of the pupils at thecompetition asked for details of local clubs so hopefully the young people willbecome members of these clubs and use their natural talent to fuel theirprogress, their love for gymnastics and physical activity.’ – Kathryn Cope – Eventorganiser and 5×60 for special schools in RCT.
In an effort to promote sport in thecommunity and create a fitter, stronger, healthier generation who are ‘Hookedon Sport’, development of progressive pathways for bright young people toengage with sport and aim high are essential. Creating these pathways for youngpeople would be an insurmountable challenge without the supporting presence of localclubs such as Cwm Gymnastics (Abercynon),RSD (Treforest) and St Tydfils (Merthyr Tydfil). Resultingfrom the efforts and dedication of the organizing staff, 5×60 team and othermembers almost 200 young people were exposed to competitive gymnastics andprovided the opportunity to link with and progress onto community clubs.
We can all agree that sport, exercise and healthycompetition are key areas that improve quality of life, create lastingfriendships and provide opportunity beyond our wildest dreams. Competitions such asthis are one of many tools used by Sport Wales and RCT to engage young peoplein sport and promote essential skills such as teamwork, leadership,communication and teach young people to aspire to greatness and refuse to sitback and accept mediocrity. This is Wales and Rhondda Cynon Taff, we are not mediocre!