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Gymnastics: More pains and gains as handicap is overcome in fight back

After my nightmare at the Scottish Championships, my thoughts were consumed by the saying:

Adam Cox has bounced back after a poor Scottish Championships
Adam Cox has bounced back after a poor Scottish Championships

"you're only as good as your last performance". I just couldn't get it out of my head.

I heard this comment for the first time when I was 12, returning from an international competition and it's something that has stayed with me. That is because it has a brutal ring of truth to it; your performance is always judged on just one moment in time with all your previous successes securely locked away in the past.

Even knowing that I had achieved the qualification scores for the Commonwealth Games and had shown what I could do last year, it wasn't enough. It is this year that counts for selection.

There was serious work to be done and I knew I would have to produce some worthy routines and scores if I wanted to make this Glasgow 2014 team.

The English Championships was the next competition on the calendar and I was making some big changes to my routines. This had a dual purpose: to improve my scores and to protect my shoulder. The injury settled down after the Scottish Championships and the new routines I was working on were showing promise.

Everything was running smoothly until 20 minutes before the warm-up ended. An over-rotated floor tumble dislocated two of my fingers. Luckily they went straight back into place so I didn't have to worry about doing that myself, but I spent the rest of the warm up icing and wrapping them in a tight bandage to try to keep the swelling down.

Marius Gherman, my coach, made his way over to where I was sitting and calmly asked, "what are you going to do?"

I was furious, with myself, the situation and even the question. There was no way I was going to pull out. I had worked too hard and too long and it was not finishing this way.

I knew the adrenaline would numb the pain a little and that I could overcome this. My only concerns were that I would not be able to grip securely on the parallel bars and would find it impossible to ease my fingers into my high-bar guards due to the swelling.

The pain was pretty bad although I had performed with worse. Soldiering on, I managed to have a great competition with three personal bests since my return to the sport, and having incorporated four new routines.

After a pat on the back for a job well done I had to get my fingers X-rayed. I was pleased to find they were not broken, but it was revealed that I'd had four previous "unknown" breaks that had healed despite my negligence.

My wife, Kim, was not impressed with my nonchalant attitude to my physical well-being. I, on the other hand, felt valiant for training with these injuries, seeing them as nothing more than occupational hazards.

Last weekend was another big milestone, not only because it was the British Championships but also because the competition date coincided with Kim and I celebrating our first wedding anniversary. I'm sure that after putting up with me for a whole year, she was hoping to be rewarded, so you can imagine her delight that instead of a romantic weekend, her choice was to spend it on her own at home or sitting on an uncomfortable seat for four hours at a time watching gymnastics. Being the wonderful wife she is, she opted to sit as comfortably as she could and cheer me on.

Although I was hampered in training by my fingers, I was satisfied with the build up to the British Championships and I was very happy to get another pleasing performance under my belt. I successfully got through all six pieces and showed that I could produce good consistent scores back to back. Finishing in the top 12 all-around and the top 10 on Parallel Bars and High Bar was a delightful bonus.

The final trials will be the Commonwealth Invitational in Perth on April 26. It will be soon after this that the team will be selected by the SGA selection panel. After competing well in the English and British, I am hopeful to be one of the chosen few. However, with Daniel Purvis, Daniel Keatings and Frank Baines certain to be picked if fit, I think choosing the final two gymnasts to complete the team will be a difficult decision for those involved. I can only hope I have done enough and proved I can be an asset to the team. I have given it my best shot.

Gymnast Adam Cox is a junior world and Commonwealth Games medallist and the 2013 Scottish senior all-around champion

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