Valleys Gymnastics duo bag national awards

Written by on 2nd February 2022

Valleys Gymnastics Academy’s remarkable record at the British Gymnastics National Awards continues with two of the club’s members bagging awards as part of this year’s celebrations.

Jaz McLellan, who lives in Pontypridd, has picked up the individual award for Equality and Inclusion, which recognises someone that has made a significant contribution to equality and diversity through the delivery of a quality inclusive gymnastics programme.

Jaz McLellan

Meanwhile 13-year-old Ava Tunley, from Cwmbran, took the Young Volunteer Award, which recognises a young person between the ages of 11 and 18 who has volunteered their time and enthusiasm to help others enjoy the sport.

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Ava Tunley

VGA managing director Melissa Anderson said:

“We are exceptionally proud of both Jaz and Ava – winning these awards for their outstanding work around inclusion, diversity and wellbeing at both VGA and St Tydfils.

“Both Jaz and Ava embody and embrace the culture of VGA and over the last 18 months have really driven developments further forwards, including increasing our disability provision and establishing VGA’s Inclusion and Wellbeing Working Group.

“I couldn’t be more proud of both individuals; they really deserve this recognition for their outstanding work.”

At the 2020 British Gymnastics National Awards, Crumlin-based VGA scooped an unprecedented double; winning the National Club Award (for more than 250 members) as well as the club award for Equality and Inclusion – becoming the first club to win two awards at the same event.

It was also the fourth time in five years that VGA had been up for the National Club Award and in winning it they became the first Welsh club to do so.

“Our club has a very strong history of shortlisting and winning at the National Awards and to win two awards for the second time running is absolutely testament to the very high quality of the work being undertaken across the club,” added Melissa.

Over the past three years, Jaz has ensured that inclusion is at the heart of everything they do at the club.

Ava, meanwhile, has been volunteering for two years already. A gymnast at VGA, Ava soon started volunteering on an informal basis before assisting on a weekly basis within the younger classes.

During the first Covid lockdown, she supported coaches delivering online Zoom sessions by demonstrating and delivering warm up activities and cool down games. In early 2021, the club created its first Wellbeing and Inclusion Ambassador role – which Ava took on.

She has excelled in the role, particularly by supporting inclusive activity and developing new ideas to support wellbeing across the club.

Welsh Gymnastics Interim CEO Siwan Davies said:

“It is fantastic to see Ava and Jaz receive well deserved recognition with these awards.

“I’d like to thank them for ensuring that gymnastics is accessible to all and enjoyed by those who take part Their stories will hopefully inspire others to take part or deliver gymnastics.

“They have made Wales very proud.”

The British Gymnastics National Awards provide the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of some of the most inspirational people in the gymnastics community across the UK.

The 2021 Awards were cancelled due to Covid-19 while this year’s ceremony had been due to take place on Saturday 29th January at the Telford International Centre, but British Gymnastics took the decision back in December to cancel the 2022 National Awards Evening due to growing uncertainly over Omicron at that time.

They are instead celebrating all of the achievements of those in gymnastics online, announcing several awards each day on their website and across their social media channels over the course of a week, starting last Saturday (29th January) until Friday 4th February.


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