Everyone is celebrating the incredible accomplishment of the
British Team in the recent Olympics, winning a staggering 67 medals
and within that the phenomenal achievement of the British
Gymnastics team who won seven medals - 3 Bronze, 2 Silver and 2
Gold. Cheering on the gymnasts was Regent Gym Club who have
something of their own to celebrate this year with their
35th Anniversary. I spoke with Julia Falle, owner
and head coach, about the club's history, future plans and
competing in today's arena.
Very exciting stuff at the Olympics - were you
Yes, definitely, it's fantastic to see British Gymnasts
doing so well in the games.
And you have your own celebration coming up - tell me
about the history of the club.
The club was started in 1981 by my dad, Arthur Falle and
Ann Mourant. They started the club because my sister, Mel,
was involved in Gymnastics at another club on the island, which was
very popular, and they could see there was an opportunity to start
another club so more youngster could get involved. In the beginning
the club was very small and only ran on a Tuesday and Saturday and
had about 50 children to begin with. Dad eventually ran the
club with me and myself supporting by last year I took over the
reins, although Dad is still there in the background.
Is it very different from now?
Yes, very. We now run six days a week and have
approximately 500! We are entering more competitions than
ever and hosting our own - it's extremely busy.
Why do you think the club has been so successful?
With Fort Regent being centrally located we are easy to
get to and we also have a permanent base - that's really
important. We have always been a very ambitious club and we
encourage all our gymnastics to reach their full potential with
visits to the UK and further afield and also by inviting other
gymnastic clubs here so we can all learn from each other. We
affiliated with Hampshire County which means we can compete in the
Southern Region and from there into the Nationals and onwards.
But it's not all about winning medals, although that's great,
it's also important to recognise that some children take part in
gymnastics for fun, it's good for co-ordination, discipline, team
work and fitness. We run a show every Christmas, which all of
the children participate in, and get to show off their skills -
it's a wonderful event.
The club has a brilliant network of parent supporters whose
contribution cannot be underestimated - their help is crucial to
keeping the club running - we really couldn't do it without
I think another one of our pluses is we are always striving to
improve. Gymnastics has definitely become more technical and the
difficulty of skills required has increased dramatically, it's much
more demanding. Gymnasts have to be powerful, strong and
flexible. We offer specialist classes in strength and
conditioning as well as trampolining, to improve all the abilities
and confidence needed from tomorrow's gymnasts.
This year we also partnered with Sports Development to offer
school holiday workshops - it's an excellent opportunity for those
new to the sport and those with experience to learn new skills,
meet other gymnasts and generally have fun.
I understand Regent Gymnastics has a dedicated Special
Needs class, how did that come about?
We started the class about 18 months ago because we really
wanted to give children who may not be able to participate in a
mainstream class an opportunity to try it and just enjoy it with no
pressure. It has been one of my most rewarding experiences;
you can see the children growing in confidence, learning the
equipment and making progress. It is open to any age, but
mainly the children who come are aged from 5 to 12, and it's every
Saturday from 2:30pm to 4:00pm. I'd really encourage parents
to pop along.
What would you say have been the challenges along the
Equipment! Having somewhere to put it and the cost - we
cover costs mainly from the club fees but we occasionally run
fundraisers so we can ensure that our equipment is properly
maintained and that our 20 coaches are professionally trained and
continuing with their career development.
Of course once teenagers get to 15/16 we face another challenge,
not only with the growing independence, but the need for them to
spend more time studying for GSCEs and further education; it's a
challenge for them to find the time because once you get to that
stage training is 2-3 times a week plus the off island competitions
to progress in the rankings.
How about the highlights?
So many it's difficult to narrow it down….
We did really well at the Island Games with all of the Gymnasts
from Regent Gym winning a medal - that was an outstanding
achievement. Regent Gymnastics was the first gymnastics
club to be awarded the Jersey Clubmark, which is an award scheme
recognising high standards in sports clubs - we were very proud of
that and our coaches were recently recognised in the UK.
Coming up we have one young lady, whose name I will keep quiet
for now, who is close to qualifying for the Commonwealth Games - we
all very excited so watch this space!
Regent Gym Club runs six days a week at Fort Regent from ages 5
upwards. To find out more about the club, including how to
register your child, visit the webpage http://www.regentgymnastics.co.uk/Home.php
Little Monkey's, Regent's sister club, offers gymnastics from
walking to age 6 -