Following a medal-laden Commonwealth Games debut, Team England gymnast Dom Cunningham is preparing to take centre stage once again ahead of this month’s European Championships in Glasgow.
Cunningham, who competed as part of an immensely successful Team England gymnastics team that stormed the Gold Coast, picked up a gold and a bronze medal in the men’s team final and the individual vault events, respectively.
“In gymnastics, anything can happen,” the 23-year-old explained when asked about his aims for the Championships due to begin today. “The expectation is to be up there and to medal, it’s my job to go and bring back medals – that’s what I want to do.”
The Birmingham-born gymnast will be competing in his second European Championships, having narrowly missed out on medals in the men’s vault (6th) and floor (5th) in 2017 in Romania. This year’s Championships will see a new format followed for the first time, with a culmination of sports including golf, swimming and cycling amongst others set to take place this week.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s like a mini-Olympics or a mini-Commonwealth Games. When I heard that was going to happen I was really excited, it’s nice to have other sports in the mix so it’s not just watching gymnastics – we can see how the other teams are doing.”
Although Cunningham had doubts about his future in gymnastics leading up to the Gold Coast, he performed spectacularly on his Commonwealth debut, taking home two medals to add to his collection.
“I couldn’t get side-tracked from the mission, I had to take home some medals to show that I was ready, not just for the Commonwealth but for future competitions. It was a very good part of my career.”
The 2018 British Gymnastics Championships silver medallist was part of an elite group of Team England gymnasts who conquered all at the Gold Coast, joining Nile Wilson, Max Whitlock, Courtney Tulloch and James Hall as multiple Commonwealth medallists.
“With gymnastics, we are a very new team. People come and go, and injuries do happen, giving us that experience was incredible. We knew we could have those medal achievements but I don’t think any of us expected to do as well as we did, for the team we absolutely smashed it. It really showed who we are as individuals.”
Looking onwards to the future, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are certainly both attainable aims for Cunningham, with the former holding a special connection for the gymnast.
“It’s an amazing thing to walk out to your home crowd, hear the fans screaming your name, and it’s nice to show them what you can do. When I heard the 2022 Games were in Birmingham I knew right away that it’s going to be incredible, I’m already seeing some of the preparation here in Birmingham and it’s so exciting.”