Tommy’s ready for TV cameras

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A SCHOOLBOY gymnast with Olympic aspirations is hoping all his hard work will pay off in front of the television cameras at the UK School Games in Sheffield.

Tommy Nicolaou, already a British and English champion at the tender age of 12, is set to represent his country at the showcase event against Wales, Scotland and Ireland on September 3.

The Hedingham School pupil, who lives in Lamarsh, near Sudbury, is hoping to add to his growing medal collection in Sheffield, as part of a seven strong England team.

His mother Olivia said: “We are just really proud. If it was all to stop tomorrow he has still achieved loads and, hopefully, he will achieve want he wants to, which is going to the Olympic Games.

“But he is only 12 and enjoying it at the moment, which is the main thing.”

Nicolaou, who took up gymnastics at the age of five, is the current English champion on parallel bars and British champion on rings, his favoured discipline of six.

And the youngster’s huge potential has already led to him being named in a 2020 Olympic development squad, as well as the European development squad for 2014, meaning he is sent to week-long training camps at Lilleshall Sports Centre once every eight weeks.

Nicolaou, who trains under coach Will Banthorpe at Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club in Ipswich, represented Great Britain for the first time in April in an under-16 competition in Switzerland, where he came sixth out of 50 competitors, some four years older than him.

And in front of the Channel Four cameras, which will be airing highlights on September 18, Nicolaou is targeting more success in the UK School Games, having been hard at training in Birmingham all this week.

“He will want to win with team England and to win himself to be overall winner and get through to the finals on the Sunday,” said Mrs Nicolaou of her son.

The opening ceremony for the games will take place next Thursday, with Nicolaou then looking to defend his British title at the British Championships which will take place in Stoke-on-Trent on September 18.