Donegal gymnasts now have Finesse

Finesse Gymnastics Display Team is now Donegal’s first full time gymnastics display team.

Finesse Gymnastics Display Team is now Donegal’s first full time gymnastics display team.

Although gymnasts from Donegal have been participating in display gymnastics, or officially Gymnastics For All (G.F.A.) since 2008, this is the first time that a team has been set up with the sole purpose of training for display and G.F.A events. All of the Finesse gymnasts come from an artistic gymnastics background and have been training within that disciple since the ages of four and upwards.

G.F.A. was first brought to the attention of the gymnastics squad back in 2008 when Irish Gymnastics (I.G.) approached Letterkenny Community Gymnastics Club (L.C.G.C.) with the proposed opportunity of the club submitting gymnasts for possible selection onto an Irish team taking part in the first ever G.F.A. World Championships. At this time 18 gymnasts were put forward from L.C.G.C. to make up a team of 54 that represented Ireland. It was while the team was at this event in Austria that the gymnasts got a real taste of what G.F.A. is all about in addition to taking home Bronze medals!

Unlike artistic gymnastics where the gymnasts perform alone, G.F.A. is a team event. The team must have a minimum of ten gymnasts but can consist of up to hundreds of gymnasts. Although the G.F.A. discipline has a small number of gymnasts in Ireland, it’s the biggest gymnastic discipline around the world, with over two million registered members. G.F.A. has its own self-styled “Olympics” called The World Gymnaestrada (W.G.), which is held in a different country every four years. It is the biggest event in the world of sport for participant numbers, with over 22,000 gymnasts attending last year’s W.G., which was held in Switzerland. Once again for this event L.C.G.C. was asked by I.G. to submit gymnasts for selection to form a National Team to represent Ireland. Eleven gymnasts, all of which were from Donegal made up the National Team and undertook the trip to Switzerland. It was there that a suggestion was made by Carolanne Tighe head of G.F.A. and Vice President of Irish Gymnastics about setting up a full time display team made up solely of Donegal gymnasts that would be available to represent both Donegal nationally as well as Ireland internationally. Once the team returned home a meeting was called, with parents and coaches to discuss the matter and it was agreed that a team was to be formed. Gymnasts were invited along to train under the watchful eyes of Gymnastics Coach Meganne Stewart and Dance Choreographer Linda Bennett. The team is made up of 17 gymnasts from all over the county.

The Finesse Gymnastics Display Team:

Gymnasts: Rachel Canning, Meghan Duff, Molly Gallagher, Adele King, Ellie King, Fiona Lafferty, Orla Lonergan, Aoife McCarron, Orla McCarron, Sarah McGlinchey, Ciara Nolan, Aoife O’ Connor, Natasha Tinney, Cara Nulty, Molly Nulty, Amber Beecroft and Ciara Beecroft.

Coach: Meganne Stewart

Choreographer: Linda Bennett.

The girls are now in training for the London Festival of Gymnastics 2012 in October, and then the Northern Ireland GymFusion Championships in November. We wish them every success for the future.