Monday, 8 December 2008

British University Gymnastics

As I'm constantly hearing about NCAA gymnastics in the USA, I figured I would shed some like on the world of University Gymnastics within the UK.

All University sport in the UK operate through an organisation called BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport). BUCS ranks Universities overall and for individual sports on a points base system.

In gymnastics, the points are decided at the annual BUCS competition. (Yes, just one competition and that's it!). Although there are a couple of other competitions in the year. Gymnasts can compete in Grade 1 or grade 2.

Grade 1

Grade 1 operates under the FIG code of points and gymnasts can only enter individually (there is no team event). Gymnasts compete on all four events and only all around medals are awarded. There are no individual apparatus finals. Last year, four gymnasts entered into the women's category, while eight entered into the men's category.

The women's champion was Nina Dearman of Manchester University, who finished with a score of 53.500. Nina is also a member of the English National Squad. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any recent pictures or videos of Nina!
In 2005, Beth Tweddle was the all around BUCS champion!

The men's champion was Steven Jehu, of Leeds Met University who finished with a score of 86.400, who went on to represent Britain at the World Student Games in Bangkok. Steven has now graduated and hopes to compete in London 2012, so look out for him!

Grade 2

Grade 2 operates under a modified version of the difficulty+execution code of points. Only skills of B value or under count towards the final score. B skills are awarded a value of 0.5, A skills 0.3 and some Uncoded skills, 0.1. There are also special requirements on all apparatus except vault, which are given a value of 0.5. There are no connection values and only the top 8 skills are counted on beam and the top 9 on floor or bars.

Gymnasts compete on three apparatus only and all around, apparatus and team medals are awarded. Gymnasts competing in grade 1 must also compete in grade 2 to represent their team but are not eligible to win individual medals.

Last year, the winning team on the women's side was Loughborough, the all around champion was Vikki Johns of Leeds University.

Here are some example routines from grade two from the girls at Leeds Metropolitan University

The vast majority of gymnasts compete in grade 2, with 68 entries last year, including 14 teams. Sadly, gymnastics in Universities is very badly funded in most universities, with the vast majority not having their own gyms. The only Universities with their own gyms (that I know of) are Loughborough, UWIC and Leeds Metroploitan (correct me if I'm wrong). Further problems include a lack of sponsorship, scholarships and publicity.

Loughborough Gymnastics Centre

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is so so cool! I wish we had something (anything!) like that in australia!