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Rhys Grey
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BUCS Nationals athlete in focus: Rhys Gray 16/02/2016

Paddock Wood trampolinist Rhys Gray insists his sights are set on not one but two gold medals at next week’s BUCS Nationals in Sheffield.

The 21-year-old University of Southampton student will be making his third appearance at the annual competition and comes in to the 2016 edition not only as a competitor but also his team’s president.

At last year’s BUCS former Mascalls Academy pupil Gray earned silver in both the individual and team events but believes both he and his current crop can improve on that performance this time around.   

“This year we have a much stronger team so our aim as a team is to get the men’s gold and then individually I want to go one better than last year and get gold myself,” said Gray, the 2010 Kent Gymnast of the Year.

“I’ve really enjoyed my previous years at BUCS. Everyone is there because they love it.

“You get the depth of ability; you get complete beginners doing it next to people like us who have been doing it since we could walk which creates a really nice atmosphere.

“The ICE Arena in Sheffield where we are competing is great too. It’s really loud and a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get going again.”

The BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event and has been a building block in the careers of many professional athletes.

The competition takes place at a range of venues across the city of Sheffield between February 19 and 21 and London 2012 Olympian Aimee Willmott and Commonwealth bronze medallist Bianca Williams are among those who are scheduled to compete this year.

Gray is no stranger to the big stage having represented Great Britain before his education took over, winning double mini team bronze at the 2013 World Championships.

But while the third year geophysics student looks back fondly on his days trampolining internationally, he says that university competition offers something different.

“Competing for university is so much more relaxed,” Gray added. “It’s a more fun and enjoyable atmosphere because it’s just everyone doing it because they love it.

“Whereas in the depths of international competition it’s very intense with people doing it because they feel like they have to. There is a lot less pressure when it’s for university, not that I take pressure of myself.”

“I couldn’t commit to national squads any more, I couldn’t travel up north every weekend like they wanted me to and then I lost funding and it all wasn’t worth it anymore so I decided to wait it out and focus on my degree.

“It’s much easier competing for the university because the gym is just round the corner from my house.”

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