Greetings to all of those who have grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A truly enjoyable and fun activity for young people is coming to Fiji – and it is healthy, too!

Silver surfers who attended Marist or Suva Grammar will probably remember workouts in the ‘gym’, but for many years gymnastics has been a forgotten sport. No longer – for gymnastics is returning to Fiji.

With the support of the Department of Youth and Sport, a company, ‘Gymnastics (Fiji)’ has been registered and eagerly awaits the arrival of gymnastics coach Robert Yeal in early August, in time for the start of term 3 on September 3rd.

Gymnastics maintains good health and fitness levels, strength and flexibility. But in addition it teaches high discipline, co-ordination, concentration, body posture and awareness, and focus – all of which greatly improve a pupil’s learning ability. The minimum age for gymnastics is 5 years.

The sport is progressive; starting with floor work, the young person learns the correct way to walk and run, cartwheel, somersault, back-flip and more; eventually joining these acrobatic moves together to create a variety of routines. This eventually leads to work on the ‘horse’, the bars and the rings.

Robert will set up his first gymnastics club in Suva, where he will also begin to train 2 local coaches – hopefully one from Vanua Levu since Gymnastics (Fiji) plans to eventually open gymnastics clubs in all the main centres. Robert will travel Fiji-wide to set these up.

It is hoped that there will be enough young gymnasts to compete, at a basic level, in the 2013 Coca-Cola Games. Perhaps even the South Pacific Games in 2014 – and who knows – one day even the Olympics!

Robert wants Fiji to lead the way for gymnastics in the South Pacific and hopes that other island nations will soon send young adults to Fiji to train as coaches and spread the good word about gymnastics.

Finally, gymnastics is not an expensive sport. There are some rules and regulations concerning clothing worn for classes; and there are also rules concerning safety. For competition an official ‘Gymnastics (Fiji)’ uniform with our logo will be worn; we hope to find sponsors to provide these when the time comes.

But there is more! Robert is a qualified dance teacher and will be giving dance classes too, as dance is an integral part of gymnastics. He teaches ballet; but also jazz dance and street dance, both of which young people today really enjoy.

Silver Surfers; please spread the word! For those who wish to express an interest in taking up this sport or training to be a coach, please contact our Press & Promotions Officer, Paulini at gymnasticsfiji@gmail.com  with your contact details and Robert will get in touch when he arrives.

Robert Yeal completed his secondary education at Suva Grammar School and has always vowed to return one day to contribute something positive toFiji’s young people. He is a UK qualified gymnastics and dance teacher who worked on the London stage for a number of years in musicals such as CATS and STARLIGHT EXPRESS. He is affiliated with the UK governing body the ‘British Gymnastics Association’. He teaches in more than 30 schools in the UK and has founded 6 gymnastics clubs. His own club employs 3 coaches and teaches over 200 children; competitive and non-competitive

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