A GYMNASTICS club has staged the first ever Welsh team gymnastics competition in the country.

Ruthin and Denbigh Gymnastics Club (RDGC), which provides professional training sessions for children aged 3 to 17, welcomed 64 teams and 500 young gymnasts from across Wales and the rest of the UK to battle compete against their peers at Denbigh Clwyd House.

RDGC, which has 600 members, is the only centre dedicated to team gymnastics in Wales since it began three years ago, with specialist equipment such as steep trampettes and extended vaults.

The sport is considered to be more inclusive, providing competitive opportunities for less advanced gymnasts, as well as children with disabilities who can compete in an able-bodied environment.

The event was organised in conjunction with the Welsh Gymnastics Association (WGA) and saw 24 teams from Denbigh to Cardiff compete in the Welsh section, before a further 40 teams from England to Scotland competed in the afternoon.

It is hoped the event will mark the beginning of team gymnastics across Denbighshire.

RDGC's teams won five medals on the day: three golds, one silver and one bronze.

Tamsin Jones, head coach for RDGC, who is also part of a WGA technical committee looking to promote further involvement in the team category across Wales, said: "The team did really well and several first place finishes.

"Wales is lagging behind the rest of the UK when it comes to team gymnastics; it has only been picked up by the WGA within the last year.

""We are the first club to start team gymnastics in Wales which is unusual as things usually start in the south and drip upwards.

"Team gymnastics offers a pathway for children who do less hours a week, say six to eight hours. To turn professional in the individual artistic category, for example, you need to practice 20 hours every week.

"The team category also gives disabled children the chance to compete alongside able-bodied children - you don't need to have a separate disabled team.

"Another unique aspect of team gymnastics is that both boys and girls compete alongside and against each other - the only category in gymnastics to do so."

Since providing team training RDGC's boys membership has increased from four to 30.

Ms Jones added: "The team category is great for encouraging young people to continue into their teens instead of dropping out and encouraging them to look to each other for support."

Maria Gaynor, team gym development officer for Welsh Gymnastics, who has worked with the club over the last 12 months to organise the event, added: “Over the years I have worked with lots of clubs and I can honestly say Ruthin and Denbigh are right up there as one of the best teams.

"The club ethos is superb, approach to gymnastics contagious and teamwork second to none.”