From competitor to coach gymnast Jones determined to succeed

24 November 2014 / 13:23

The days of competing may now be over for Frankie Jones but the retired rhythmic gymnast admits a return to the very top, this time as a coach, is getting the juices flowing again.

The 24-year-old brought the curtain down on her sparkling career in some fashion this summer, claiming five silver medals and gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The latter, a gold in the ribbon event, came in her very last competition and handed her the title of Wales’ most decorated gymnast and athlete from a single Games.

Her career hasn’t always been so easy though – a hip injury shortly after the London 2012 Olympics leaving her fearing retirement but an operation put her back on track for a Glasgow goodbye.

While one chapter may have come to a close, Jones has wasted no time in getting stuck into a new challenge, with coaching her new focus.

And she admits the prospect of helping Welsh teammate Laura Halford – winner of double individual bronze and team silver in Glasgow – step up in her absence is something that catches her eye.

“I’m in the process now of doing my level 2 coaching qualification and doing a lot of coach education things,” she said. “There are some very good young strong gymnasts coming up.

“Laura Halford – my teammate – she’s already pushing it. She was really close on my tail in Glasgow. She has got a really bright future ahead of her.

“I’d love to stay involved with her journey because it is a special one. I think because having been her teammate as well, I’m a bit of a role model.

“I’ve never cried so many happy tears in my life at Glasgow. It was very special and to be with a team because I’ve never been with a team for the Commonwealth Games before so it was just very special.

“It’s a very big step to go from competing over to coaching but I’ve got some very good people around me.

“Jo Coombs (Head of Performance and Excellence at Welsh Gymnastics) has been looking after me and is mentoring me. Fingers crossed if I can be half as successful as she is, I’ll be very happy.”

Jones was speaking after the efforts of some of the most pivotal coaches throughout her journey to the top – including Jo Coombs – were recognised with the Coaching Chain Award at the UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette, at a glittering ceremony in Glasgow.

The award honours the contribution made by a group of individuals throughout an elite athlete’s life in helping them achieve their full potential, with Coombs joined by five other coaches close to Jones’ heart.

“We are all very close friends, I’ve grown up with them and they’ve had influence in my career all the way through,” added Jones.

“It’s really nice to see them getting recognition for all the hard work and hours they have put into it. The attention to the sport since Glasgow has been phenomenal.

“And now since I’ve retired, I’ve actually had a chance to go into these clubs and see the kids getting involved.

“It’s so special. The joy a little girl can get from just picking up a ribbon and being introduced to that world, it’s just really nice to see and be involved with now.”

© Sportsbeat 2014