Falkirk teen selected for Great Britain in European competition

A Falkirk teenager will be competing for Great Britain at the European Team Gymnastics Championships in September.

Josh Cantell, an S6 pupil at Braes High, will be part of a 10-strong TeamGym team looking for a win at the competition in Luxembourg following a successful trial event earlier this year.

The 16-year-old had been considering giving up on gymnastics last year, however a new found motivation led him to continue his training and has helped him secure his place in the GB team.

He explained: “Last year I competed in Portugal at the European Championships but under GBR2.

Josh Cantell has been selected to compete for Great Britain at the TeamGym European Championships in Luxembourg in September. Pic: Michael Gillen.

"It was a Scotland representative team which was thrown together quickly as a second team as they needed four countries to compete to call it a championship.

"It was very much a case of your a boy of the right age, with the right skills, you can go.

"At that point I thought I was done with gymnastics and that was going to be a good way to finish on a high.

“However, I went there and was genuinely blown away with how good people were.

“I wanted to be able to do that.

"I came back and thought I’m going to stick at it. I’ve been working hard after the motivation that gave me.

"When the selection process came up this year I was really swithering whether to go for it or not.

"A few of my coaches are former GB coaches and they were saying you’d be daft not to go and try and if you don’t get in then it’s an experience.

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“I went to the selection in Crewe and was chosen.

“It still feels unreal. I can’t believe it’s happening.

"It’s three months until I’m competing and to think about that is very scary.

“I’ve never worked this hard before and put in as much effort as I have now.”

Josh has been doing gymnastics for around ten or 11 years, having started at Grangemouth Community Gymnastics Club.

He said: “Originally it was just for fun with my friends.

"Then I was asked to go to a competition club in the local area.

"But just after lockdown I moved to a club in Tranent, Saltire Team Gymnastics.

"I’ve been training with them for over a year now.

"The move has definitely been life changing.”

Now, as well as training every day, Josh is working hard on ways to raise the money needed to enable him to travel to team training camps in England over the summer and to pay for his travel to the competition.

He said: “On the build up to the competition I am required to train across Britain in places such as Crewe, Crawley and Bracknell.

"All of these training camps and the trip to Luxembourg are self-funded which is roughly coming to £3500.

"I have been planning ways to fundraise, including a Go Fund Me page.

"I’m arranging a fundraising night at a local golf club, but the date has still to be confirmed and I contacted local business, Candied, and they kindly donated a large sum of money towards the trip.

"I also plan to contact more businesses about sponsorship.”

To find out more about Josh’s story or to make a donation click here