Update: Youth competition structure review

Update: Youth competition structure review

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British Cycling has announced the next phase in the review of youth competition structures following feedback to the changes approved by the Board last month.

The changes across all cycling disciplines are intended to make the sport as a whole more accessible to greater numbers of young people while further developing competitive racing at all ages in a context appropriate for the ability and age of the children involved.

British Cycling is wholly committed to getting these changes right and, following last week’s announcement, we have received further feedback which will be reviewed before the changes are implemented.

British Cycling president Bob Howden said:

“British Cycling’s Board approved changes in the youth competition structure across all cycling disciplines to make the sport as a whole more accessible and a better and more appropriate experience for all young people.

“This shift in our approach seeks to encourage children and their parents to choose cycling as an activity they can easily access and enjoy at the start of what will hopefully be a long term passion for the sport.

“It is important to emphasise that British Cycling wholeheartedly believes that competition is a good thing. We believe that competitive sport is a healthy part of children's development - winning and losing is after all an essential life skill - and the changes approved by the Board ensure that there will still be the same number of opportunities for children of all ages to compete across all disciplines.

"The over-riding principle is that for children aged 12 or under, the focus should be on building a lifelong passion for cycling through the development of skills and competition at a local level without the pressure to perform on a bigger stage. Young riders are still very much encouraged to compete, with the same incentives for the victors of winning podium places, medals and trophies that there always has been in sport, but each event should be considered in isolation without the added time or financial pressure of having to compete in many events across the country in a National Series.

“We recognise that these changes will have a significant impact on BMX in particular and I want to reassure the BMX community that we will be considering all the feedback we have received. We acknowledge that there are some areas that need to be looked at in more detail and that further work will be undertaken by the Board and Commission and further updates provided before the end of the current season.”

We would like to thank our members for their constructive feedback on this important piece of work. Further comments are welcome and should be sent to youthworkgroup@britishcycling.org.uk