Welsh Gymnastics star Brinn Bevan says he can’t wait to get the dragon on his chest as he aims to honour his late father’s side of the family by representing Wales at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Bevan previously competed at the 2016 Olympic Games and has also medalled at the World Championships - winning silver in the team event in 2015.
But he is yet to appear at a Commonwealth event and is hopeful of competing at his first in Birmingham next year.
“The Commonwealth Games is the last one to tick off the list for me,” explains Bevan, who is from Essex but represents Wales through his father’s side of the family.
“Switching to Wales was a decision that I’ve been wanting to make for a very long time. I’ve been trying since I was 10 years-old to make the change.
“It’s going to be really special as I feel like I’ll be competing for my home heritage. I want to do my dad and his side of the family proud.
“Ever since I can remember, we’ve always tried to make yearly visits to Aberystwyth to visit the family.
“Even when I’m at home, I’m always supporting Wales in other sports, like rugby. It’s a great feeling to be able to represent Wales.
“I can’t wait to get that dragon on my chest.”
Bevan, 24, who hails from Southend, is a passionate supporter of Welsh gymnastics and he hopes to help the sport to further develop in Wales.
“Gymnastics isn’t the biggest of sports in Wales, currently but I think it’s something that can grow,” he says.
“If I can inspire the younger generation- then great. It’s only going to help having bigger and better athletes.”
“Leading into the Commonwealth Games, I think we have a great shot of winning a team medal.
“There’s a lot of strong individuals and I think we will come together well as a team, which will hopefully inspire people to take up gymnastics.
If mental toughness has been a requirement for all athletes over the past 18 months of the pandemic, then Bevan had plenty in store.
He had to be strong over the last year after his hopes of reaching Tokyo were dashed at the final trial event due to a fracture of his right leg during a routine.
It was not the first time a broken bone had disrupted his progress.
“I had an unfortunate injury at the last Olympic trial where I fractured my leg, again, but I’ve now had the all clear and I’m pleased to be back in action,” says the gymnast who also had to overcome a double leg-break in the run-up to the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“It was really tough, but lots of people have been in difficult positions, too, with coronavirus and how disruptive it has been with training.
“At the third trial, I really felt like I was back to my normal self.I felt like a competitor and a gymnast again.
“The vault was where I got injured and frustratingly it was my last piece.
“I thought everything went well up until then. But straight away, my focus turned to the rehab, which helped me, mentally.”