HILPERTON gymnast Toby Lewis says that he never expected to receive international honours after earning his first ever call-up to the Welsh Junior squad.
The 13-year-old, a pupil at St Laurence School, earned a bronze medal in the U14 boys category at the Welsh national championships at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff last month.
Lewis competes in all six artistic gymnastics disciplines and qualifies for Wales through dad Steven.
“It’s a bit of a surprise really because I never expected it to happen,” said the teenager, who regularly represents the South West in national competitions and is set to begin meeting up with the Welsh Junior team for monthly training camps “It’s good news – I love the adrenaline of gymanastics and it’s really exicing.”
Lewis got in to the sport at the Wiltshire School of Gymnastics before moving on to the Baskerville’s club in Bath.
He now trains five days a week at Port Regis School in Dorset under the guidance of Hungarian ex-gymnast Zsolt Csorba.
But in 2009, the teenager’s chances of continuing to compete were thrown in to doubt when he suffered a severe arm break.
“He’s a really energetic boy and he’s always off out doing something when he’s not training,” said mum Jo.
“Three years ago, he fell out of a tree and broke his arm really badly. We were worried that he wouldn’t be able to carry on doing gymnastics.
“He had a lot of physio in Trowbridge but luckily, we managed to have him transferred to the British Gymnastics’ chief medical officer and he ended up getting a support that he could take off for training and then put back on.
“He really enjoys the sport and he’s been lucky enough to meet Louis Smith (the British triple-Olympic medallist) a few times at big competitions.
“He loves training and St Laurence School have been really good to him because they’ve adjusted his school timetable and they also let him travel to training on a Wednesday afternoon.
“There isn’t really a lot of funding in gymnastics too and he helps to pay for his training in Dorset by coaching some of the pre-school kids for them.
“He’s done really well and getting into the Wales team is exciting for him.”
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