Downie has no regrets as she targets strong 2018
Gymnastics Artistic

Downie has no regrets as she targets strong 2018

03 October 2017 / 18:17

On the front cover of Ellie Downie’s training programme sits just one picture of her in the gym at this year’s title-winning European Championships.

Selected by her coach, it is not one for vanity, nor is it one of her atop the podium showcasing one of the moments of her life.

Instead, by the Nottingham gymnast’s own admission, it is the saviour to her torturous period of rehab.

European all-around victor as recently as April, this week’s artistic World Championships in Canada were supposed to be a celebration for a teenage superstar looking to spread her continental acclaim to the globe.

But instead Downie – only partially influenced by her coach – made the decision to undergo a much-needed ankle surgery, with this currently her third month of rehab.

Barely 18, it was a decision beyond her years for the Rio 2016 Olympian to make, already lending an eye to a busy 2018, on and off the apparatus.

“I could have gone [to Montreal] and competed in the bars and beam but they’re not my specialist pieces so it could have been a waste of time to do them and not qualify for finals,” she said.

“I could have been out there and not in the UK recovering from injury, I don’t want to go in and do a half-job. I go there to put in a performance.

“It was a tough decision. There was a chance my foot might not have recovered and with next year having the Commonwealth Games, Worlds and Europeans – three majors in one year – you can’t be going in with little niggles.

“It was frustrating and it still is watching everyone out there now. You see the potential of what you could be doing out there.

“But that’s why you have the coach there, it is difficult but they’re to help you and the picture from the Europeans is just one of those thing that can make a difference.”

Downie’s European triumph has taken her to the dizzy heights of poster girl, helping launch the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup which comes to The Arena Birmingham next March.

That undoubtedly makes her one to watch on home mats but, for the teenager herself, even now the achievements of April are struggling to sink in.

Yet for the Nottingham starlet – nominee for the Sunday Times’ Young Sportswoman of the Year –  that feeling comes with excitement more than pressure.

And with the 2022 Commonwealth Games looking likely to come to Birmingham, Downie believes there is no better opportunity than now to show what she can do in front of those who know her best.

“To have a big competition just an hour away from where I live is pretty cool,” she said.

“My friends and family don’t always get a chance to watch competition with them being out of the country, but hopefully this will be a great opportunity for them – if they’re not too busy.

“For us this can be a taster for 2022, which will be nice. You get an extra buzz from a home crowd and if we’re able to get used to that early then it’s all the better for us.

“British Gymnastics has a really great squad and lots of talent so hopefully people will want to come, see what it’s about and get inspired to give it a go.”

The 2018 Gymnastics World Cup lands at Arena Birmingham on 21-22 March and will see some of the best gymnasts in the world compete. For more information, including about tickets, visit: www.gymnasticsworldcup.co.uk