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Aberdeen University Gymnastics Club: the challenge of moving forward

The club reveals how they are facing the on-going pandemic

by Alessandra Puglisi

Photo courtesy of the Aberdeen University Gymnastics Club

This week Gaudie Sports chatted with Maria Sara Sammarco, a committee member of the Aberdeen University Gymnastics Club, and she talked to us about how the club is handling the current Covid-19 situation and how they are moving forward.

As one of the two social officers, Maria Sara’s role concerns organizing events for the club members to have fun and socialize, a rather difficult task to achieve during this pandemic. She told us that “online events are not as engaging as the face-to-face socials that we used to have, and it is difficult to figure out exactly what kind of activities work best on online platforms, but our members have shown great support and are always willing to participate.”

Following AUSA’s decision to host both the freshers and re-freshers fayre online, Maria Sara said that the students’ engagement has not been the same as previous years, however, the club has been very dedicated to finding ways to get long time members and newcomers involved.

In October they started training at Aberdeen Sports Village on Tuesdays and at the Aberdeen Gymnastics Centre on Sundays. With the city of Aberdeen being in Tier 2 of the local protection levels at the time, the club was allowed a maximum of 30 members (per AUSA’s rule) in both the gyms; “It worked out greatly for our club as we rarely reached full capacity.” Maria Sara told us.

During the rest of first term, the social officers have organized a wide range of online events going from movie nights to baking classes. In November, the club hosted a successful fundraising quiz night in collaboration with the Aberdeen University LGBTQ+ Forum to raise money for the club and their chosen charity of the year, Rape Crisis Grampian.

In December, the annual ‘AUGC Open’ took place; “It is an in-house competition for members only where we have the chance to show our skills regardless of our levels in a very friendly environment. It was a big success and we all had a lot of fun!” Maria Sara said, “Apart from this, the rest of our BUCS competitions have been canceled due to the Covid-19 restrictions.”

In January, to inaugurate the New Year in the best way, the UoA Gymnastics Club and the UoA Cheerleading Squad teamed up and issued the 1000 Rep Challenge, an online 7-days training program to warm up members before the start of the 2nd term.

Given the on-going stressful situation with the emergency of Covid-19 and the frequent changes in Government guidelines, Maria Sara said that the club is not currently allowed to go back to the gym, as a strict lockdown is still in place in Scotland; “Our captain is working on moving our training online, so even if we won’t get the chance to train in a fully equipped gym, we will still be able to keep our routine and form and be ready to go back to physical training when it will be safe to do so!”

Despite the various challenges encountered, the club remains very active on their social platforms and they are always ready to welcome new members.


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