Bury gymnast Josh Lincoln is Commonwealth Games potential after being selected for mentoring scheme

IN ACTION Joshua Lincoln representing Scotland in an international competition in which the team won the silver medal

CHAMPION Josh with the Under-14 Scottish Championship

First published in Sport by , Sports writer/sub-editor

Promising young Bury gymnast Joshua Lincoln has been chosen as one of Scotland’s next generation of Commonwealth Games competitors after being included in an exclusive sports programme.

The 13-year-old will take part in a new scheme called ‘Achieve 2014’, which mentors promising young athletes, using the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as a learning experience and a springboard for their emerging talent. Josh, who is the current under-14s Scottish champion having won the title two years in a row, also represented Scotland in an u19s contest at the UK School Games last year.

The youngster, whose interest in gymnastics began after watching a DVD of the sport at a young age, trains six days a week at Bury Gymnastics Club. “It’s very exciting, but it all started somewhat bizarrely,” said dad Brad Lincoln.

“We used to live in Nepal in the Himalayas and my parents sent out a DVD of the Athen’s Olympics so we could watch it on the laptop. “Josh would have been about three or four-years-old at the time.

“The DVD included rowing, cycling and athletics, and there was also a bit of gymnastics on it. He saw it and said ‘that’s what I want to do’. Josh was five-years-old when the family returned to the UK and he started recreational gymnastics for one hour a week.

“He clearly had aptitude for it. By the time he was six-years-old he was doing nine hours a week at a club in Wrexham, and he’s just progressed from there.”

Due to Josh’s commitment to gymnastics, Lincoln and his wife Morna, who now live in Oswaldtwistle, moved from Cheshire to be closer to Bury Gymnastics Club.

“There was a lot of pressure on the rest of the family because we had to drive him to Manchester every day for training, so we decided to move house to be closer to where he needed to train,” said dad.

Josh, who is home schooled, has a condition called synesthesia – which means he is both dyslexic and has a hypersensitivity to light. He also has to wear dark glasses when doing gymnastics.

“His head just gets muddled. If he hears a sound he can see it and if a light flashes it makes a sound in his head,” said Lincoln.

“If you tell him a word he’ll tell you what colour it is or what it tastes like.”

Next month, Josh is again up for selection for this year’s UK School Games, which take place in Manchester.

“He’s so committed,” said Lincoln.

“I don’t know another sport like it to be honest. You have to be so committed and focused at a very young age to be able to do what Josh does.”

Lincoln also praised Bury Gymnastics Club and coach Paul Hockwart for supporting Josh’s development. “They have been so brilliant,” he said.

“Bury is a hotbed for gymnastics excellence at the moment. “There are huge success stories at the club with Joshua, Jack Chamberlain, Theo Seeger, Finlay Dunn and others all featuring in the national squad, and representing Bury, the North West of England and the country throughout the last few years.”

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