Top coach raising bar thanks to funding
The Bermuda Gymnastics Association are the first local national sports governing body to take advantage of funding provided by the International Olympic Committee.
The BGA successfully applied for a $30,000 grant, which is one of the potential grants available to national sports governing bodies under the IOC Solidarity Funding programme.
“As the head of the organisation, one of the things that we have tried to do is try ways and means through our Olympic Solidarity Programme to assist our associations with development of youth athleticism, coaches and administrators,” said Judy Simons, the Bermuda Olympic Association president.
“The Bermuda Olympic Association is extremely proud to partner with the gymnastics federation in helping them with their development programme.
“We are very excited that we have had this opportunity for a national governing body to take advantage of this grant and we look forward to other opportunities with other national governing bodies as well.”
The purpose of the grant is to provide funding for international gymnastics coach Rick McCharles, who is presently on island assisting the BGA in the creation of a national development plan which includes training local coaches.
“We are extremely excited by the opportunity the IOC has granted us to bring down an expert on gymnastics,” Tim Miller, the BGA president, said.
“For us, it's about raising the bar in our sport, and certainly with Rick here we are able to do that.”
Echoing Miller's sentiments, Adriana Ford, the BGA coach, added: “It's great for us to be able to share this opportunity to bring down such an expert that has a vast knowledge and has worked around the world trying to encourage participation within sport, specifically gymnastics.
“We are just extremely pleased to have an opportunity to increase the awareness and education about the sport of gymnastics and youth development.
“We really look forward to visiting some of our local schools and clubs to share the knowledge that Rick has brought to the island.”
Canadian McCharles, who has coached several Olympic gymnasts, believes that the future of local gymnastics is promising.
“Looking at all the different age categories and Olympic cycles in the future I think some of the youngest kids look very good,” he said. “They are great prospects.”
The IOC Solidarity Funding Programmes are agreed by the IOC every four years after the Olympics. National Olympic Committees make applications for the grants on behalf of national sports governing bodies.
“We have worked quite hard getting this programme up and running,” Julia Hawley, the Bermuda Olympic Association funding officer, said.
“This is a first programme for Bermuda; the development of a national sports structure for gymnastics and an international expert from Canada who has come to Bermuda to deliver this programme.”