Can you cast your mind back to those care-free times of yore, when your skin still fitted your body and you could touch your toes with nonchalant abandon? It was good wasn’t it?

Nowadays, of course, you creak and groan with just about every move and hirple. Even the process of casting your mind back is accompanied by a wincing grimace.

A blether with Paisley gymnast, Kelvin Cham, helps to bring back memories of those dexterous days of youthful agility, though.

“Everywhere I went when I was really young, I would walk on my hands instead of my feet,” he recalled. “It’s a natural instinct when you’re that age isn’t it? I’d always be doing cartwheels or headstands.”

Even at the tender age of 20, however, Cham has not avoided the aches and pains that can visit a body.

After taking bronze in last year’s Commonwealth Games in the team event alongside fellow Scots, Daniel Purvis, Frank Baines, Hamish Carter and David Weir, Cham has effectively been sidelined for the past 11 months with ankle and wrist injuries.

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It has been a real scunner for the former Scottish junior champion but the announcement yesterday that he has been awarded valuable funding as part of the Team Scotland Youth Trust has raised the morale and given his rehabilitation a timely shot in the arm.

Pursuing sporting excellence doesn’t come cheaply. Sacrifices have to be made and Cham remains eternally grateful for the support of his family. The grant from the Youth Trust, which is now in its 30th year, has been warmly received.

“Being in gymnastics for so long has been tough for me and the family and my mum and dad have done everything for me” he said. “It’s hard to put a figure on it but, financially, it’s thousands of pounds. You have travel, entry fees, hotel costs, you have to pay for where you train and if you need new equipment. It all adds up.

“I was ecstatic when I heard I had received this. It does lift your confidence and it’s some recognition that you are doing well and have potential to go on. This has been a tough spell for me. I’ve not competed since the Games. It’s been a long, frustrating time and I’ve never had a spell out with injury like this.

“It can be mentally tough. Everyone else is getting ready for compet-ition and I’m not. I’m doing rehab. But I’m in the right frame of mind. Once I get through this I’ll be much stronger and hopefully better. Everyone goes through highs and lows.

“At 15 and 16 I went through a tough spell when I felt I wasn’t competing as well as I should have been and wasn’t winning as much. I thought I should have been doing better. At the time I was thinking ‘is this worth the hard work as it’s not paying off’. I pushed on though and I got there. I’m glad I stuck with it.”

Living a hop, skip and a jump from St Mirren’s football ground, Cham was a nifty player himself during his school days and played alongside current Buddies midfielder Kyle Magennis in the Paisley Grammar team.

“Football was always more of a fun thing for me and I decided to dedicate myself to gymnastics,” he said.

Given the way things are going at St Mirren just now, it was probably for the best.

Cham is one of 18 athletes set to benefit from funding, with Commonwealth Games swimming medallist Scott McLay and female boxer Vicky Glover among the recipients.

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Like Cham, McLay, who won five medals in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017, welcomed the financial fillip as he builds towards the World Championships, the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

“It’s helped a tremendous amount to know that I’ve got that backing,” he said. “I’m using the money towards equipment, race entries and travel to competitions, which takes the financial pressure off me and allows me to concentrate fully on just the swimming.”