Gymnastics remains popular according to Sport Australia latest report

With community and elite sport slowly getting back to activity across the county, Sport Australia has released the latest AusPlay survey participation data with a focus on the early impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity.

Despite the report indicating that children bore the brunt of sports being forced to shut down during the pandemic, gymnastics continued to rank in the top three organised sports for children under the age of 12.

Gymnastics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Kitty Chiller AM, said it was very pleasing to see these results and the continued popularity of gymnastics but also noted that the survey was only up until 30 June 2020, and acknowledged that sports may not see the full impact of the global pandemic for some time.

The report released late last week, included results from AusPlay and Sport Australia’s other survey tool, the Community Perceptions Monitor. It reported that children bore the brunt of the COVID sport shutdown with just 17% of children indicating they were still able to take part in any type of organised physical activity outside of school.

“It was very encouraging though to see that gymnastics remained popular, evidence of how our affiliated clubs were able to adapt they way they delivered classes online to their members in the early months of shut-down,” Chiller said.

“Gymnastics provides children and young people with the basic skills and behaviours that give them the confidence and motivation to lead active and healthy lives. It is now more important than ever that we get them back enjoying the sport they love as quickly as we can,” said Chiller.

Sport Australia Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rob Dalton said the research highlights the important role sport can play in lifting the nation’s energy and spirits adding “almost half (44%) of Australians said they missed sport being in their life and 57% of adult participants were looking forward to being able to play their chosen sport again.

“Those who found it easier during the sports shutdown to remain active and engaged in physical activity reported feeling a greater sense of wellbeing, optimism and connection, which serves to demonstrate the crucial role that sports can play in the national recovery from the pandemic,“ said Dalton.

“Community sport, like gymnastics, brings so much to the lives of millions of Australians and we know it is one of the ways communities will re-engage once they are able to do so,” said Chiller.

“Our clubs remain focused on providing a safe environment for all participants, especially those younger members, ensuring they can get active and engage in essential physical literacy activity once again.

To view Sport Australia early impact of COVID-19 report, click here.