Falcons Gymnastics Academy coach and gymnast in Great Britain team
THE COACHING director of Falcons Gymnastics Academy is to lead a Great Britain team featuring one of his young stars into an international tournament.
Mike Beagley has been chosen by British Gymnastics as one of two coaches for the country's four-strong team in next month's Austrian Future Cup.
In the team is Joe Jones, a 13-year-old gymnast who travels from his home in Bristol to train under Beagley at Falcons' Barnstaple base five days a week.
Joe, who will compete across six pieces of apparatus in the category for gymnasts born in 1998 and later, switched to Falcons on the recommendation of British Gymnastics when his coach left the City of Bristol club where he trained previously.
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His transition was assessed at a national competition last month, which Beagley also attended.
"They were so pleased with his level of training they offered him the opportunity (to compete in Austria)," said Beagley, 44, who helped found Falcons in 2004.
"Then they came to me and said, 'Would you be one of the coaches to lead the team?'
"It's a very tough competition – the top kids in the world will be competing.
"It's an amazing achievement for Joe, we're really pleased, and it's my first international competition so I'm delighted.
"It was a big surprise. I would never have dreamt of that a few years ago."
The team will travel to Linz on Thursday, November 29, ahead of the competition on December 1.
Britain are the reigning champions, having beaten runners-up Japan and third-placed Hungary last year.