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Interview: Daniel Purvis (Great Britain)
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2008 European junior all-around silver medalist Daniel Purvis (Great Britain) told IG he would "love playing any part" of his country's team at the 2009 Worlds and 2012 Olympics - both taking place in London.


Daniel Purvis finished second all-around at the 2008 Junior Europeans

2008 was a banner year for British men's gymnastics, and Purvis has done plenty to hoist his team's hopes as London prepares to play host to the 2009 World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games.

At the European Junior Championships held in Lausanne in the spring, Purvis won the all-around silver medal, behind gold medal-winning teammate Daniel Keatings. Purvis and Keatings were key in the British juniors' stunning — and historical first — victory in the team competition.

In the fall Purvis placed first all-around at the British Under 18 Championships, held Oct. 31-Nov. 2; and first all-around at the Northern European Championships, held Nov. 8-9 in Kopavogur, Iceland. (Since Purvis's mother is Scottish, he was eligible to represent Scotland at the Northern Europeans. England does not compete in the event.)

Purvis turned 18 on Nov. 13, and competed the next day in qualifications at the DTB Cup, a World Cup meet held in Stuttgart. He placed a respectable 12th on pommel horse, 14th on rings and 15th on parallel bars.

Born in Liverpool, Purvis trains under coach Jeff Brooks at Southport YMCA. In 2006, the newspaper Liverpool Echo named Purvis "Young Sports Person of the Year." In 2007 Purvis placed second all-around at the British Under 18 Championships, and 11th all-around at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.

Purvis now looks forward to joining Keatings, 2008 Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist Louis Smith and 2008 British senior all-around champion Kristian Thomas in the 2009 British senior line-up. In this IG Online interview, Purvis discusses the progress he and his countrymen continue to make towards the 2012 Games they will host.


IG: Congratulations on winning the British Under 18 title. What were your expectations going into the competition, and how close to your expectations did you come?

DP: My expectations going into the comp were to go clean and, hopefully, cut down on the deductions which had recently spoiled my training. I felt this would enable me to win by scoring 88 plus. Although I won, it was a little under my target score so I felt I could have done better.

IG: Do you plan to try for the 2009 World Championships? If so, what role would you like to play (i.e., all-around, or focus on certain events)?

DP: I really want to take part in the 2009 Worlds so do plan on trying out. Being one of the all-arounders would be brilliant but, if I can't make that, I would love playing any part in the team.

IG: You are part of a group of juniors moving into the senior ranks, soon after winning the Junior Europeans. How much pressure do you feel to quickly match the level of success you achieved as a junior?

DP: I do feel extra pressure as part of the senior set-up, because we need to perform better then ever before and I've got to raise my Start Values to be part of it.

IG: How much extra pressure, if any, do you and your teammates feel as hosts of the 2009 Worlds and 2012 Olympics?

DP: If I was selected, I think we will feel extra pressure to perform in front of the home crowd because they will expect a lot from us after Lausanne (2008 Junior Europeans). We should have a great squad by 2012, and I hope all the home support will work to our advantage by keeping the team focused and boosting our confidence.

IG: What are you and Jeff doing to adjust your performances so they are competitive in the senior international division in 2009?

DP: We are trying to develop additional elements on most pieces, to try and increase my all-around score. New moves on high bar are only coming slowly, so we just have to keep at it. We are trying to cut down on deductions, especially on p-bars and pommels because they are costing me a lot. I am doing more rings conditioning to try and add elements to my routine. I also need a bigger dismount which I am working.

IG: What events or aspects of your gymnastics need improvement, and how are you looking to make these improvements?

DP: Flexibility is always a problem for me, so I am trying to find time to do exercises in between training sessions to help with new elements.

IG: Within the British team there is a lot of talent, including all-arounders like Daniel Keatings, Kristian Thomas and Louis Smith. How are you managing the balance between working together with them for good team results, and preparing yourself to compete against them for spots in the British lineup?

DP: We are all good friends and support each other loads during training sessions and in competition. I know that we all try to beat each other, and that is good for everyone's improvement. I just aim to do the best I can and hope it's good enough to make one of the spots in the team.

IG: What will it take for the British men to achieve their goals at the 2009 Worlds?

DP: We need our top men to keep free of injury and for us all to train together regularly, to spur each other on and to get a good team spirit going.

IG Magazine Related Features
"Royal Treatment" - Smith profile (December 2008)
"Early Graduation Day" - Keatings profile (July/August 2007)
2008 European Championships coverage (June 2008)

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