NOW the furore has died down, it is an appropriate time for me to add my comments to the decision of the 2015 Bid Committee to omit the sport of gymnastics from the Jersey Games.
I understand the reason that was taken reference the rulings that only 14 sports are allowed, and that one size has to fit every island which was voted on by the international committee a couple of years ago.
However, our bid committee seemed to have looked at quantities and teams of people instead of the individual quality that our sport provides through the gymnasts who take part. There was no verbal consultation with the association concerning the bid.
I established Regent Gymnastics Club in 1981 and now we have three generations involved in the sport, including me, my daughters Julia Falle (head coach) and Melanie Le Boutillier, who has recently established ‘Little Monkeys’ for children from 12 months to five years, and now my granddaughter Matilda, who has followed in her mother’s footsteps and taken up the sport.
Regent Gymnastics Club sent its first gymnast to the Island Games in the Shetlands in 1989, when Alexis McFarlane won two silver medals. Since then we have trained a high level of gymnasts to compete at county, regional and national levels and at the Jeux des Isles, Island Games and many international invitational competitions.
Through our doors we have had many young sportspeople who have had their basic gymnastics training with us and gone on to achieve success in our sport as well as others.
Island Games representatives have included my own daughter Stefanie Falle, who has now qualified as a regional judge, and coaches at Aylesbury Gymnastics Academy in the UK; Janet Santos, who has achieved high recognition in New Zealand with Sports Aerobics and also as a personal trainer; and Dionne Travers, who now coaches in a club in Brisbane, Australia.
These are only some of the gymnasts who have carried on with their sport. Many others have come back and qualified as coaches to assist in gymnastics clubs in the Island. The list is endless.
Other sportspeople who started their training at Regent Gymnastics Club and have since gone over to other sports and represented Jersey are Elizabeth Cann and Solen Pasturel (badminton), Lauren Thérin (athletics) and James Lucas (professional dancer).
All these young sportspeople have encompassed the gymnastics basic training into their own sport, which has given them the development of their body, discipline, confidence, strength and fitness to achieve success.
The letters recently from friends of our club, and Chris Lake in his JEP column on Saturday 19 December only go to show how much we will be missed.
The 8 to 11-year-old girls and boys now training at the clubs in the Island will miss out altogether on the chance to represent their Island.
The sport of gymnastics has had a setback, but so many of the coaches are dedicated to the sport, many giving their time voluntarily, and will ensure that it continues to produce enthusiastic and talented young people not only in gymnastics but also for other sports, whatever they choose in the future.
If only the committee had given more thought about the individual young people coming through in our sport which are future representatives of our Island, instead of too many team sports.
It will be interesting to see the reaction from the other islands who were depending on our sport being included, including the Isle of Man, Faroes, Aland and Bermuda, who have already listed the sport for their inclusion.