Frank Baines hoping European Championships experience can spur him onto Glasgow 2018

Scottish Gymnastics star Frank Baines says it would be an honour to represent Great Britain at inaugural Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

Gymnastics star Frank Baines hopes that being a part of Great Britain’s history-making 2017 European Championships team in Romania can inspire him to challenge for honours at future events, including next year’s Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

The 21-year old – who won a silver medal for Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow –formed part of a team that clinched six medals in total, including four for Ellie Downie who became the first British gymnast in history to win gold in the all-round event. Courtney Tulloch and James Hall also picked up medals in what was a hugely successful tournament for British Gymnastics.

Baines staged a promising performance on his senior European debut and he’s eager to keep his place for the World Championships in October and – looking further ahead - the chance to compete in front of a home crowd at Glasgow 2018.

Baines said: “The European Championships was an absolutely fantastic experience. I done my job on the three pieces I was competing on and I’m really happy with that.

“As a team it was just a remarkable weekend for British Gymnastics with James (Hall) and Courtney (Tulloch) winning medals and – of course – the success of Ellie and the girls. It was a really strong field too, with a lot of up-and-coming Russian gymnasts and the likes of Olympic silver medallist Oleg Vernyayev to go up against.

“It’s brilliant seeing Ellie progress through the ranks. She was bronze in the all-round a few years ago, so to see her improve on that and take the gold was absolutely brilliant. It just shows how hard she’s been working.

“The whole experience just really inspired me and it’s made me want to get back in the gym and continue working hard to qualify for future events.”

Next year’s UEG European Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships will form part of the inaugural European Championships, a brand new multi-sport event which will see seven sports staged between the host cities of Glasgow and Berlin.

Gymnastics will be staged at The SSE Hydro and will see 600 junior and senior athletes compete across eight days and 26 medal events to be crowned the Champions of Europe.

It’s a venue with many happy memories for Baines, who says he’d be honoured to perform in front of a home crowd at a European Championships. But for now, the young gymnast is happy taking things one step at a time.

“The crowds in Glasgow are absolutely brilliant,” said Baines. “They support everybody. It’s not just the home nation they cheer for - they get behind everyone. It’s so loud when you’re down there on the floor competing and it really motivates you to do even better.

“It was a special feeling winning a medal in front of the home crowd at Glasgow 2014. I also went to watch the World Gymnastics Championships in 2015 and the atmosphere again was just tremendous.

“Of course it would be a massive honour for me to compete for Great Britain at the European Championships next year but I’ve just got to put the work in and take every day as it comes. Hopefully by the time Glasgow 2018 comes around I’ll be in a good position to compete.”

And with a further five sports – including Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Rowing and Triathlon – taking place across Scotland alongside Gymnastics, Baines says the atmosphere between the athletes will be electric.

He added: “It’s really good fun being part of a multi-sport event and getting to meet the other athletes. I think everyone in Gymnastics has a great deal of respect for athletes in the other sports. It’s just good to meet likeminded people.”

Tickets for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships will go on sale in summer 2017. 

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