One of the biggest struggles when it comes to keeping young people engaged with sports is the cost of taking part. Many young people struggle to afford gym fees and kit, let alone the cost of competition, and it can be demoralizing for a young person to have to stay at home while the rest of the team goes off to compete and comes home with great stories to tell, and perhaps even a handful of medals.
Not everyone has the time or the money to travel to Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow or the other competition "hubs" to compete, and requirements such as gis that fit a certain way or are a certain colour mean that some people may be forced to purchase new gear just for one specific competition. It's no fun to spend all that money and travel all that way to potentially have only one match in the competition.
Removing the Barriers to Competition
That's why we are working together with Versus Grappling to put on five tournaments next year. There is a definite need for competition at a grassroots level, and Versus Grappling has already held a few successful tournaments over the last couple of years. We believe that the demand is there for a full tournament schedule in 2015, and we will be working with Versus Grappling to make their tournaments more accessible and inclusive.
These tournaments will be held in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and will have affordable entry fees as well as reasonable equipment requirements. They will operate using the repêchage system, so all entrants will be guaranteed at least two matches. This gives everyone a chance to test their skills in competition against people of their own age, weight and ability.
The tournament schedule for 2015 is:
|8th March 2015||Newcastle BJJ Open Spring Tournament (Gi)|
|9th May 2015||Versus Grappling 6 (No-gi)|
|11th July 2015||Newcastle BJJ Open Autumn Tournament (Gi)|
|3rd October 2015||Versus Grappling 7 (No-gi)|
|5th December 2015||Newcastle BJJ Open Winter Tournament (Gi)|
If these tournaments are successful, then we hope to do something similar for wrestling and other sports in the future. We believe that everyone should have a chance to compete in an inclusive, supportive environment.