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Inverness teenage gymnast becomes Scottish champion for second year running after claiming gold in vault at national championships in Motherwell

By Will Clark

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Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.

NATIONAL champion Jack Finnigan successfully defended his Scottish Under-18 Vault title as he reinforced his reputation as one of the top young gymnasts in the country.

The 17-year-old Inverness Gymnastics Club star produced another solid performance to take gold in Motherwell.

It followed his success last year when he became the first Inverness Gymnastics Club member to become a national champion.

The Inverness Royal Academy pupil’s victory was made even more impressive that he was competing after coming back from injury which had hampered him for the majority of last year.

Finnigan says he competed through the pain barrier and was delighted to retain his under-18 vault crown.

“I had a bit more experience going into the Scottish Championships than last year,” said Finnigan.

“But at the same time I was going into these Championships more injured than previously too.

“I had ligament damage in my back for most of last year and it put me out for a while.

“I did about two or three vaults before I went back down to the championship.

“It also impacted me competing on floor aerobic, so I have had to reduce it and make it less difficult.

“It was a significant injury in the build up to the Championship as I couldn’t train in floor or vault as much. But it helped me improve scores on the parallel bars and pommel, so it has been helpful to that extent.

“I thought my chances to win the under-18 vault title again were over, but I was happy to win and it is a great title to have.”

Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Finnigan has been involved in gymnastics for almost all of his life as he was encouraged to get into the sport from a young age.

This year marks a decade of competing in competitions where he has achieved major success in Scotland.

Becoming Scottish under-18 vault champion for two years running is his biggest achievement so far and he says he is pleased his hard work and dedication has paid off.

“My mum took me to a starter class when we lived in Glasgow and then I continued gymnastics when we moved up here,“ he said.

“I was seven years old when I first started competing in gymnastics and becoming Scottish vault champion has been the highlight so far.

“I train regularly between 12 to 16 hours a week and gymnastics has been a big part of my life for a long time.

“I spend a lot of my time at the club, I am close with my coaches and teammates and it is a great club to be involved with.”

Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.

As well as competing in national competitions, Finnigan is also helping training the next gymnastics stars of the future at Inverness Gymnastics Club and Inverness Royal Academy.

Now competing in his final year at under-18 level, Finnigan is considering the future and looking forward to competing in senior level gymnastics.

As well as being in sixth year at school, he is considering other options in his life.

But he is still focussed on his gymnastics career and hopes he can look at further success in the future.

“I have some more competitions throughout the year.

“Then I move on to senior level which involves longer routines and it will be a tougher standard.

“I think I am prepared to move into senior level next year.

“But in the meantime I am still coming back from injuries and I am looking to get back into top level performance.

“It has proven to be a challenge, but I am getting there.

“The first priority is getting back to full fitness and my full skills back.

“Then I will look to challenge for the all round positions as well as the events.

“That is the main target in gymnastics to get the all round titles."

He added: “In terms of the future, my options are still open.

“I need to see how the next couple of months goes and see where it takes me.

“I never thought I would become a national champion.

“But once you get more skills it does add more fuel to the fire.”

Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Jack Finnigan. Picture: James Mackenzie.

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