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Great Britain gymnasts in town
LONDON 2012 gymnastic heroes are in Basildon this week to stake their claims for a spot at this year’s World Championships.
Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas and Sam Oldham have joined team-mate Max Whitlock at his base at the Sporting Village-based South Essex Gymnastics Club.
Along with Louis Smith – whose future in the sport remains unclear – the four became the first British gymnastic team to achieve a podium finish for 100 years at last summer’s home Games.
Senior and junior members of the British squad, working together as part of The Olympic Programme (TOP), will spend six days in Basildon, and on Wednesday will take part in a behind-closed doors trial for the World Championships, which begin in Antwerp at the end of September.
SEGC’s head coach Scott Hann says competition will be fierce for a place at the competition, which is only second in stature to the Olympics.
“Judges will be brought in for the trial and everyone will be going all for that Worlds spot,” he said.
“Max is in the fortunate position that his success at the European Championships already puts him in a strong position for that Worlds team, but everyone will be looking to impress.
“The London Open and some other controlled events will also be used for selection, but this is an important part for people to stake their claims.”
Hann admits it’s another great watershed moment for the club, which has had an incredible amount of success since relocating to the £38million centre from its previous home on Cranes Farm Road in May 2011.
He said: “We’ve got the team here who had such great success in London apart from Louis Smith, along with Dan Keatings who was at the Beijing Olympics, so it really is another proud moment for us.
“We’ve lucky to have Max as part of our own club, of course, along with (GB senior) Reiss Beckford and (GB juniors) Brinn Bevan and Anthony Wise, but having these other faces about is really inspiring.
“We work so hard here to make the club a success and, personally, I am massively proud the Federation respect me enough to come away from the national centre in Lilleshall and train and compete here like this.
“We hope it will be the start of hosting the GB squad regularly in the future, because it can only be a good thing for gymnastics in Essex.”