Owen Treloar (11) and Alex Williams (10) were eager to start training again at Mackay Gymnastics after not being able to for three months because of COVID-19 lockdown.
Owen Treloar (11) and Alex Williams (10) were eager to start training again at Mackay Gymnastics after not being able to for three months because of COVID-19 lockdown.

Skills suffer after 12-week hiatus

CHEERS and laughter will ring out at Mackay's sports grounds for the first time in three months, as the first wave of sports resume training this week.

Mackay Gymnastics was one of the first sports to return after its COVID Safe plan was approved by Mackay Regional Council last week.

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Today is the official opening for the club, but small groups were allowed into the facility to test-run the new safe practice policies on Saturday.

The team was eager to get back onto the gymnasium floor and into the training program that was interrupted three months ago.

Director of coaching Jenny Rowland said it was a huge relief to start training again but added it would take months to get her athletes caught up to the level they were at before the break.

"It was devastating for the club and our 800-plus members when we had to close but we are excited that we will be open and we can't wait to welcome everyone back into the gym," she said.

At this time of year, athletes would normally be ramping up for the most competitive part of the season. But all meets in the country, bar one in December, have been cancelled.

Rowland questioned whether her team would be prepared for the competition and said she may withdraw for the safety of the Mackay gymnasts.

"We spoke to the governing bodies and have been in conferences with Olympic coaches and the talks were about how the kids would have lost so much skill," she said.

"We have to make sure we're easing back in. There is one competition in December and we're wondering if they'll be ready then. We don't know the extent of the loss of skill."

Rowland praised her coaching staff for their ingenuity and ability to train classes without proper apparatuses.

She said her staff had been busy in Zoom meetings creating basic training regimes to retain core strength and fundamental skills.

Still, the coach said when the children were training for up to four hours a day, several nights a week, the sudden lack of practise would have undone months of work.

"We were watching Georgia Godwin train online the other day, she was meant to compete in a months' time at the Olympics. You could see she lost a lot of skill," Rowland said.

"If the Olympians lost skills our juniors defiantly would,"

Mackay Gymnastics can only have 20 people in the building at the moment and has split trainings into two teams of 10.

A release from Gymnastics Queensland on Saturday stated that organisations could have multiple groups of 20 under the new COVID Safe plan, but Rowland said it would be hard to implement in the Mackay facility.

"We could have two groups of 20 but they cannot cross over," she said.

'But if I have several groups they would need to cross into the other group's zone to use the bathroom.

"We only got the news recently so I have thought about how to implement it, but until then we will be waiting until Stage 3 when we can have up to 100 people in the area."


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