A Billingshurst gymnast has fulfilled his lifetime ambition of representing his native island in a major competition.
Daniel Lee, 19, is heading to Australia after being selected to represent Jersey in the Commonwealth Games which take place next April on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Daniel has spoken of his honour at being the first male gymnast to compete for Jersey at the Games. This follows after a successful Island Games appearance in Sweden where he won six gold and one bronze medal for the Channel Island. His father, Graham Lee, said: “It’s always been Daniel’s ambition to compete in one of the major games.
“Apart from the Olympics it is the top honour. He’s very thrilled to be picked and going to Australia in the spring is very nice. I’m very proud of him and we have supported him through the years and it’s been hard work but I’m glad to see it has paid off in the end.”
Daniel has been a gymnast since the age of just four and his father believes it is his ‘dedication and hard work’ along with years of training that has put his son in this position.
Graham also praised his son’s confidence and ability to take risks and try moves that other competitors wouldn’t. He said: “He likes to try new moves and gets more pleasure out of doing the more difficult routines. He works so hard at it.”
Despite giving up hours of time to train, that is not the only sacrifice that Daniel has had to make in order to fulfil his dream. Daniel has delayed his entry to Loughborough University in order to fully prepare for the competitions that lie ahead.
Graham said: “He was scheduled to start university last September but because the opportunity to do this would have entailed so many hours in the gym, Daniel thought he would have to put university on hold and Loughborough were very supportive with this.”
Hopes are that Daniel can represent the university of Loughborough in competition but admits that his current level of training may not be sustained.
Graham added: “Whether he will have the time to carry on training as hard as he does now we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Daniel travels out to Australia with the team of 33 athletes next March after the British Championships in Liverpool.