Joe Fraser hails ‘wonderkid’ Jake Jarman as England’s gymnasts rule at Commonwealth Games

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Joe Fraser believes the Commonwealth Games have given the world a glimpse of the next gymnastics superstar.

Jake Jarman has certainly come a long way since he was talent spotted in a Peterborough-park swinging from the monkey bars.

He was just seven years old when his gymnastic prowess caught the attention of a passing coach, the sort of scouting performance a Premier League football club would crave.

The 20-year-old added vault gold to his podium topping performances in the team event, all-around competition, and floor final.

And former world champion Fraser – who took his Games gold tally to three with a victory in the parallel bars – believes the best is yet to come with the European and World Championships ahead in future weeks.

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“Jake is the wonderkid, he’s the future of our sport and I’m so proud of everything he’s achieved,” he said.

“It’s just the beginning for Jake, the potential that guy has is unmatched and having him in the team will be such a huge asset moving forward.”

Jarman could be forgiven for thinking international gymnastics was straightforward – four finals in the space of five days and four golds. He becomes the first English man to win four golds at the same Games since shooter Mick Gault 24 years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

However, he insists his feet will remain on the ground, despite inevitable hype ahead of the Paris Olympics in two years.

“When I was younger, I was a very hyperactive kid,” recalls Jarman. “When I was seven, I was in the park in Peterborough and my Mum told me that a gymnastics coach was there at the same time.

“I was just swinging from the monkey bars, and he told my Mum, ‘You should bring your kid to one of the local clubs.’

Jake Jarman (left) edged out team-mate Giarnni Regini-Moran on the men’s vault (David Davies/PA)

“As long as I’m focusing on my training and just enjoying every moment of it, then I can’t put any extra pressure on myself.”

Birmingham’s own Fraser and Alice Kinsella both won physical and mental battles to claim their golds. Fraser’s appendix ruptured in June, and he fractured his foot just three weeks ago but once again he swatted aside the pain.

And Kinsella, in tears after a fall in Sunday’s all-around competition, brought Arena Birmingham to its feet with a sparkling display to win the women’s floor title – then admitting panic attacks had plagued her preparations.

“When the appendix burst, my dreams were still bigger than three gold medals,” said Fraser.

“The broken foot, that made me rethink as that really took me back. I had to change a lot of my training sessions, but I have a mindset where I believe in myself. I’m grateful to be here in front of a home crowd with three golds.

“It’s incredible, competing it your home city, it felt different. I can’t explain the feeling I had out there. If I could, I’d do the whole week again and give the medals back just to feel that buzz of competing in front of a home crowd again.”

Kinsella, a bronze medallist at last year’s Olympics, leaves Birmingham with two golds and paid tribute to coach Brett Ince, who has been a rock in her corner in recent weeks.

There were tears again for the 21-year-old from Sutton Coldfield but this time they were tears of happiness – and relief.

Alice Kinsella bounced back from disappointment to win women’s floor gold (David Davies/PA)

“My goal was to come away with more medals, but everything happens for a reason,” said Kinsella.

“I wouldn’t be here with this gold medal without Brett. Since I rolled my ankle a couple of months ago, I’ve been having panic attacks on the floor mostly every day doing it.

“It was mentally hard for me. I did the same thing in Tokyo so for that to happen again, the trauma all came back. Now I’m feeling a lot more confident on it.

“He just knows me; we’ve known each other for 10 years now. He knows when to leave me alone and when to bring me back up.

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“It has all paid off in the end. The all-around final wasn’t my day, it was a goal for me to come away with an all-around medal but it’s gymnastics, you never know what’s going to happen on the day.”

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