Gymnast Tom heads east, but first he is staking British claim

A TODMORDEN-born gymnast will be taking part in the British Championships at Leicester this weekend.

Friday, 16th March 2012, 8:57 am

Tom Rawlinson has already achieved great success in international gymnastics.

In a separate development he has also accepted a contract to appear in a spectacular new show being staged in Macau near Hong Kong by Cirque du Soleil founder Franco Dragone.

Tom began his gymnastic career as an enthusiastic seven-year-old and it soon became clear that he had the potential to go a long way in his chosen sport.

He joined a local recreational gymnastic club which held sessions at Ferney Lee School on Saturday mornings.

Within weeks he had been spotted by a coach who trained elite gymnasts, and was asked to try out for the squad who trained at Wellesley Park, Halifax.

He won many trophies and medals as a junior gymnast.

He was British champion three times and became a member of the Elite British squad, a position he still holds.

He spent his time training on a daily basis at Leeds Carnegie University and attending national squad training at Lilleshall.

Tom represented both the university and Great Britain, here and abroad, gaining medals on each occasion, either as part of a team or individually.

He has represented Great Britain at the World Student Games on two occasions.

He was honoured with the sport’s highest accolade - Master Gymnast - in 2010.

The award is only given to gymnasts, who have dedicated their lives to participating, competing and raising the profile of British Gymnastics across the globe.

He has also achieved a level 4 coaching certificate, which enables him to coach elite gymnasts himself.

He was loathe to withdraw from international gymnastics as his aim was eventually to compete in an Olympic Games

He has coached for the last two years at a club in Rotherham and is also in demand by schools and education establishments to give presentations and displays.

He also helped a French gymnastics club and it was in France he was approached by Cirque du Soleil.

He faces a gruelling six months training in Belgium before going on to Macau for the show. Thomas will be travelling to Belgium alone but hopefully when he moves on to Macau his partner, Amy, will be joining him for the two-year contract.

His parents David and Belinda Rawlinson both still live in Todmorden and the family run the post office at Walsden.