Under 19s British Champion gymnast Harry Hepworth will make his debut at the Senior British Gymnastics Championships at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena later this month.
The 18-year-old began his 2022 by training with three-time Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock.
Now he is aiming to earn a place in the Commonwealth Games team for the tournament’s start in Birmingham on July 28.
Hepworth, from Leeds, is the Under 19s ring champion and this will be his first time competing in the senior competition.
“The British Championships is basically a competition where all the elite gymnasts in the UK compete.
“This time for me however I am not a junior anymore, I’m a senior now so it’s a chance for me get my routines out.”
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Hepworth however.
When he was five, he was diagnosed with Perthes disease – a condition in young children that affects the mobility of the hip joint.
A condition that can be particularly difficult in gymnastics.
But this didn’t stop Hepworth, who explained how he got into the sport.
“Basically, there was this guy called Craig Richardson, who did a demonstration at my Primary School.
“He could do a backflip at that time. I just really wanted to learn how to do a backflip, so I went to his club, and it all took off from there!
“I was around five and I got this disease. I couldn’t play sport for like three years and then like I say, that guy came to our school and did a backflip and I wanted to do it.”
Following him getting over Perthes disease, Hepworth then suffered a double stress fracture in 2018.
Hepworth’s dad Andrew said: “I remember saying to him after he fractured his back that it is okay if he wanted to quit just as others who had this injury had done before.
“His response was, ‘I’m a gymnast dad, what else would I do’?”
It showcased the hunger and desire to be the best, a level that Hepworth was striving for, evidenced by the dreams he has for his career.
“I want to be the Olympic ring champion, that’s my biggest goal and my dream.
“I really want to get to the Olympics or even The World Championships they’re both good, the rings are what I specialise in.”
However, British Champions have a different level of talent there, something which Hepworth has acknowledged.
“The Olympians will be there and they’re who I’ll be competing against.
“So the likes of Max Whitlock and Joe Frazier and that will all be there,. I will also be against my GB team-mates.”
Hepworth certainly has one eye on the Commonwealth Games.
“The training camp for the Commonwealth Games is going really well at the minute.
“I’ve been there for the past month or so, my routines seem to be getting there, the routines itself feel good and like I say it’s been a good month or so.
“This year it’s been purely competition prep. It’s been a bit boring but it should pay off by the end of the year.”
The Senior British Championships take place in Liverpool from March 24-27.