December 8, 2022

World Gymnastics Championships: GB’s Jake Jarman on summer success and maiden Worlds

Venue: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool Dates: 29 October-6 November
Coverage: Watch the finals live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online from Tuesday 1 November. Full coverage details

He keeps his medals alongside his fake plants, but Jake Jarman’s successes this summer were very much real.

Four golds at the Commonwealth Games followed by two at the European Championships have catapulted him into the sporting spotlight, the new kid on the gymnastics block for those not in the know.

But the 20-year-old has had little chance to reflect on a victorious few weeks, with the upcoming World Championships in Liverpool providing a rapid change of focus.

“Looking back on it, it’s gone really quickly,” Jarman told BBC Sport.

“I have moments in my week where I take a minute just to look back and watch videos of the competitions, especially the Commonwealths, because that was such an amazing atmosphere, being a home crowd.

“It’s been quite non-stop since the start of summer; we’ve had Commonwealths, Europeans, and then the shortest break possible and straight back into build up for the World Championships.”

He added: “I feel like just being able to compete at a World Champs in the UK is incredible.

“The last one, in 2015, was in Glasgow. I remember I went with my gym club to watch.

“From being in the crowd to actually competing in a home world champs is something that most people probably won’t ever get. I want to take everything as it comes.”

It has all come very quickly for Jarman, who only last year was a travelling reserve for the British team at the Tokyo Olympics.

Fast forward 14 months and he is the one to watch, with his masterful execution of some of the most technical skills in the summer whetting the appetite for what could be to come.

His four golds – team, all-around, floor and vault – at the Commonwealths in Birmingham made him the most successful English male gymnast at a single Games, but with success comes added pressure that could weigh heavy on the shoulders of someone so young.

Those medals, placed in their boxes high but neatly on a bedroom shelf interspersed with faux greenery, are a constant reminder of all he has achieved so far.

Yet Jarman seems unperturbed by this new expectation. His focus is on side before self while, most importantly, enjoying the ride.

“World Championships, for a gymnast, are the second biggest competition you can go to, so there is increased pressure,” said Jarman, who trains at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club.

“I want to do well for the team, for myself as well, but more for the team because there’s a really big opportunity this year to do really well.

“The past two majors I’ve been to I’ve gone in with the mentality of just enjoying the whole experience. I’m looking to do the same at the world champs.

“We’ve done the build-up countless times now, we know what it’s like. You get used to it a little bit, not fully, but you have somewhat of an expectation so there’s no point in adding stress when you don’t need to.”

Team England's men's gymnastics team
Jake Jarman, James Hall, Giarnni Regini-Moran, Courtney Tulloch and Joe Fraser won team gold at both the Commonwealth Games (pictured) and European Championships in the summer

British Gymnastics has named unchanged men’s and women’s teams for the World Championships, which start on Saturday at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena.

There, history beckons as Jarman and his team-mates Joe Fraser, Giarnni Regini-Moran, James Hall and Courtney Tulloch go for an unprecedented treble of three team golds in a calendar year.

The camaraderie, and friendship, among the group has been a key to their success, and made Jarman’s step up to the elite level all the more enjoyable.

“We work really well together, the atmosphere we create, especially in training, we really push each other on to do the best we can,” he said.

“We’ve all got things that we struggle with. But for us all to come together as a collective and be able to help each other is what I feel makes it really special.

“At first [when he joined the team], it was different because I’m around a bunch of guys with a completely different mindset, their heads are so screwed on to what goals they want to achieve, and being a part of that it helps because I feel like I can really take on those added qualities that they have.

“I felt like I fitted in really quickly, just because I want to do well in my gymnastics career. Having that mentality made it a bit of an easier transition.

“We all get along really well together so it made it feel seamless.”

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