Thomas shows his support as 2018 Gymnastics World Cup comes to Birmingham

Thomas shows his support as 2018 Gymnastics World Cup comes to Birmingham
By Sportsbeat

04/10/2017 at 01:56Updated

You have to go as far back as Rio 2016 for the last time Kristian Thomas took to the mat, but the Wolverhampton gymnast has hardly ever felt more involved.

Taking team bronze more than a year ago proved the perfect time for Thomas to take a step back, a decision he has far from regretted at the age of 28.

In fact he has thrown himself into a whole new career entirely, last month starting the second year of his Strength and Conditioning course at the University of Wolverhampton.

But when your former squad mates are your best friends, it's hard to stay under the radar for too long.

The British team are currently in Montreal for the World Championships, with double Olympic champion Max Whitlock set to lead the charge on the world stage.

And despite watching his friends and teammates do battle, Thomas is not regretting his decision to take stock of a career that saw him captain the team to Olympic bronze.

"It's been quite nice to have that time to sort out other bits of my life," he said.

"I've gotten married, starting running a boot camp and doing training so it's been busy, but a good busy, in a way that I've been able to challenge myself in other areas.

"I've been involved as a senior athlete for ten years, that's a long time so it's nice to give yourself that mental break as much as anything.

"But in all honesty I haven't even stepped away from the sport. I'm speaking to the guys everyday, even while they're out in Montreal, because it will always be a massive part of me and my life too."

Thomas was speaking at the announcement of Birmingham's confirmation as host city for the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup, taking place in March at The Arena, Birmingham.

Alongside that, the city is bidding to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with this competition a landmark step towards the journey to succeed Australia's Gold Coast.

Thomas will likely have a watching brief for the competition, hopeful the world can see just what the city is all about as he battles his own nervous twitches from an unfamiliar vantage point.

"The World Cup is a major event in the calendar where all the best in the world come, so for it to be coming to Arena Birmingham next March – it ticks all those boxes," he said.

"I'm better on the competition floor than I am in the stands, when I'm not around the team I get sweaty hands and really nervous – maybe it's because I'm not used to it too much.

"The fact that we've held major gymnastics competitions in Birmingham before shows they want to keep coming back and that's great to see.

"If we could get the Commonwealth Games as well that would be massive, there's a big tradition of sport in the city and people really want to see it in the city and surrounding areas."

Sportsbeat 2017