Having a successful junior career, Welsh gymnast Emily Thomas became Junior Commonwealth and Northern European Champion, before moving to senior level competing at last year’s Commonwealth Games at Australia’s Gold Coast. In 2018, as part of Team GB, Emily picked up Bronze for the Uneven Bars at the British Championships and has most recently attended the Doha World Cup reaching the Vault final. Catching up with Emily after competing at Doha, she talks about the World Cup, her first competition win and being part of both Team Wales and Team GB.
Have you always been interested in gymnastics?
I believe I’ve always been interested in gymnastics for as long as I can remember. In primary school, my friends and I would be trying to do cartwheels and handstands on the school yard until one day, a teacher in my primary school introduced herself to my mother and said she believed taking me to a gymnastics class would be really beneficial for me as she saw talent. I was four years old starting my first ever recreational gymnastics class and fourteen years later, I’m still here!
Were there any gymnasts you watched while growing up?
Beth Tweddle had to be the gymnast I watched the most growing up. I always tried to watch her at any competition that was close by and was definitely in awe of her, especially because she was a gymnast competing who represents my country and was very successful.
What do you remember from your first competition win?
I remember my first competition was compulsory Level 4 at the Welsh Championships at the age of nine. This was the first competition as elite and it fell on the same date as Mother’s Day. All of my gymnastics club came to support my teammates and I in our first elite competition and I didn’t expect to win it at all. I remember as I walked up onto the podium, “We Are the Champions” by Queen was playing and as I looked for my mother, both her and my coaches at the time were crying!
What was it like having the Gold Coast as your first Commonwealth Games as a senior?
Being in Gold Coast as my first Commonwealth Games as a senior was unbelievable! I’m unable to put into words how amazing the whole experience was. To also be there with my closest metal mates made it even more exciting. My first Commonwealth Games will definitely be one to remember!
How did you find the experience at Gold Coast?
My experience at the Gold Coast was incredible and I loved every minute of it! I did feel slightly nervous for the competition but those nerves and all the hard work I dedicated to the sport was definitely worth it! I’m hoping I’ll be able to gain another experience as amazing as the Gold Coast was soon.
How did it feel being both Junior Commonwealth and Northern European Champion?
Becoming both Junior Commonwealth Champion and Northern European Bar Champion was an amazing achievement for me. It gave me the confidence to know all of my hard work was starting to pay off, it also gave me the motivation to get back to the gym and work even harder.
You had great results at the recent Welsh Championships, how did you find this competition?
This year’s Welsh Championships was successful for me, becoming the senior All-Around open and closed champion. Competing at the Welsh Championships is always a nice way to begin the year as I’m able to compete with my close friends and both family and friends usually come to watch as it’s local for them. It also gave me a good opportunity to get back competing before this year’s British Championships.
What was the atmosphere like at this year’s British Championships and the Doha World Cup?
The atmosphere at this year’s British Championships and the Doha World Cup was amazing in both All-Around and finals competitions. Being able to compete with some of the best gymnasts is very exciting for me.
Can you tell us about your time at Doha?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Doha this year as it was a chance for me to gain experience and be able to compete against some of the world’s best gymnasts also. I was super happy to have come away in sixth position in the vault final! I also enjoyed having a shopping spree on our final day there because the mall was insane!
What’s it like competing for Team GB and Team Wales?
Competing for Team Wales is something I’m very passionate about because I’m Welsh, although competing for Team GB is also an honour. Knowing my hard work for all these years has given me the opportunity to compete on behalf of my country is something I’m very proud about.
What sports do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy to watch rugby if I’m not watching gymnastics. I love to watch the WRU play against England as it’s definitely the most tense game for us back in Wales and our aim is to beat England especially every time!
How often do you train per week?
On average, I train about thirty hours per week, including my fitness, strength and conditioning and ballet sessions.
Has your training differed since becoming a senior gymnast?
I’d say the biggest difference in training now that I’m a senior is that I have to be a lot more efficient with my work in comparison to when I was younger as I’m performing harder skills and unfortunately I don’t have as much energy as I used to back then.
Do you have any competitions you are in training for?
At the moment I’m not training for any competitions that are coming up shortly as I’m about to sit my final A level exams.
What future competitions do you have your sights on?
The future competitions I have my sights on would definitely be a World Championships, Tokyo 2020 and another Commonwealth Games.
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