Get Involved: University of Manchester Gymnastics Club
By Emily Hogg
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind three years for UMGC (University of Manchester Gymnastics Club). What was once an anonymous society with just 12 members in 2013 is now the Athletic Union’s Most Improved Club of the Year with more than triple the amount of its members.
The new competitive year kicked off with a bang after we managed to secure over 200 sign ups at this year’s Freshers Fair, and with a subsequent average of around 30 members attending the weekly sessions so far. In the past two weeks, more students have joined the club as competitive members than in the whole of the last academic year. We’ll be preparing for our first friendly competition in Bangor at the end of November, where we’re hoping to showcase our members’ impressive progression over the past year and bring some metal ware back to Manchester. We’ve done this by providing another training session for our members this year—Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons. We’re hoping to continue our winning streak after our first ever BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) stint earlier this year, where our men’s team achieved 1st place and half of the women’s team ended up in the top 30 out of 100.
Our mission at UMGC is to welcome everybody of all abilities, regardless of their past experience. Our membership base is comprised of a mixture of total beginners to former national level competitors. Each one has already seriously impressed returning members, committee, and coach alike. Everyone is also displaying tremendous potential, despite having only been part of the club for three weeks—some of our beginners were somersaulting after just one session. After our successful BUCS performance in February, our members have been inspired to challenge themselves to tackle higher level moves in order to progress and compete in the next grade up at competitions. This involves both our men and women upgrading to three or four pieces rather than two, and for some, involves learning a completely new skill. The determination and dedication of our members cannot be disputed, there is an authentic energy in the air when we train. We don’t care if you can’t touch your toes, or you can’t even hold a handstand for a second, we simply want all of our members to enjoy themselves at gymnastics, whether they’re competitive members or not.
The camaraderie among our members is arguably unmatched by any other club. As a still relatively new and small club, we’ve all established a close-knit bond with one another, meaning that the training environment is relaxed, and members feel comfortable training together, despite the variety of abilities. This bond has only been strengthened by our competition and training weekends away in Scotland and beyond. We’re all extremely supportive and encouraging, and often motivate one another to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. This year also marks another exciting first in the UMGC calendar—we’re going on Tour to Lloret de Mar in April 2017! We’re a hugely social club, getting together every week to go out, have nights in, go out for dinner, to trampoline parks etc—you name it, we’ve probably done it! Our White T Shirt social with Trampolining Club last week was a huge hit and it was great to further our relationship with them too. We’re keen to run ‘Bring a Tramp to Gymnastics’ sessions and vice versa, to really promote each other’s clubs and hopefully increase memberships.
We train at Fit City Ordsall twice a week with our coach, Rochelle. Our access to high standard facilities has been pretty restricted, given that there aren’t many, if not at all, free gyms around central Manchester. However, a few of us attend adult gymnastics sessions at Stockport to take advantage of their superior facilities! What’s more, we’ve recently partnered up with Oxygen Free Jumping and use their trampolines to master some new tricks on socials there too.
We’re continually striving to expand and develop the club even further, and we’re aiming for UMGC to become a household name around the University. It’s exciting to think what could be in store for the club in the next three years, following the accomplishments of the last.
Training times: Tuesday 6-7:30 pm, Wednesday 2-3:30 pm. Fit City Ordsall, M5 3DJ.
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