James Hall has become such a dependable member of the British gymnastics team that he has earned himself the moniker ‘The Postman’, writes Paul Eddison.
At 26, the Maidstone gymnast is the veteran of the British team that won Commonwealth and European team gold medals this summer, while he also added all-around silver in Birmingham behind compatriot Jake Jarman.
A key contributor in the team event, Hall has become one of the most reliable members of a group that is going from strength to strength.
And for Beth Tweddle, one of the greats of British gymnastics who won three world titles as well as a bronze medal at London 2012, Hall’s importance to the team cannot be overstated.
Votes have been flying in for the National Lottery Athlete of the Year. 🏅
Don't miss out on making your vote count - it closes tomorrow at 5pm! ⏰
Vote here using their hashtag or on our website: https://t.co/8HCqjP2S8e
— National Lottery Good Causes (@LottoGoodCauses) August 30, 2022
She said: “It’s really important to have someone like James. You know that he delivers, in fact I’ve heard they call him The Postman because he always delivers.
“He is a great personality for that team, he keeps them all calm, he keeps them bonded. He’s been there and done it, he’s won various medals himself, but for the likes of Jake, it gives him someone to talk to who has been there and done it. You need that variety within your team.”
Hall’s summer could have been even more successful, but an injury suffered in the all-around final in Birmingham limited his opportunities.
While he completed the competition, the ankle injury effectively ended his chances of beating Jarman, and also meant that he did not compete in the all-around in Munich at the Europeans.
Voting for The National Lottery Athlete of the Year is open until August 31st at 5pm! Please get voting for these incredible athletes, they’re counting on your support. Vote for your favourite here using their hashtag or vote on the website: https://t.co/EKXBMyq8SP #NLAwards pic.twitter.com/D1Qp4JC4eV
— Beth Tweddle (@bethtweddlenews) August 25, 2022
Now, the focus will be on recovery ahead of the trials for the World Championships, which are taking place in Liverpool later this year. And Tweddle is confident that Hall, and teammate Joe Fraser who competed in Birmingham despite suffering a broken foot just a fortnight earlier, will get the care they need to be ready.
She added: “Unfortunately picking up that injury, James probably would have wanted to do the all-around at Europeans but the relief on his face when he won that silver medal was special, and to be able to stand on that podium and collect his medal.
“He did amazingly and leading into Europeans, him and Joe would have had the medical support from British Gymnastics to ensure we’re looking after the athlete first. We are lucky with the set-up, the medical set-up we have got really does help ensure the athletes are being looked after.”
Choose your National Lottery Athlete of the Year by checking out the shortlist and voting either on Twitter @lottogoodcauses with the hashtag #NLAwards or on www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards- entries must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 31st August 2022.