A TALENTED gymnast from Somerset who trains at Quayside in Bridgwater has spoken of his excitement ahead of his debut at a World Championships.

Corey Walkes is a trampoline gymnast and was last month selected for his first worlds team. The 2021 Trampoline, Tumbling and Double Mini Trampoline (DMT) World Championships runs from 18th-21st November.

Corey said: “I’m very excited. It’s been a long time coming, especially with injuries. Despite Coronavirus, I’ve had a back injury for the last two years and I got that back injury when preparing for what would’ve been my first World Championships two years ago.

“It’s been a long time coming, and it very much feels like this competition is the end of a long journey so I’m excited to get back on the floor again.”

Alongside 22 other GBR gymnasts, Corey landed in the Azerbaijan capital in the early hours of Monday morning, leaving two full days of preparation before he competes in qualifying.

Corey attributes what he’s achieved to date in large part to his club, Quayside, which is also the home of Tokyo Olympic trampoline gymnast Laura Gallagher. Corey says that having Laura to look up to over the years, as well as the help and support the club have provided, has been massive: “We’ve very blessed at my club. I was lucky that I had Laura (Gallagher) there growing up, so I always had her as my role model.

“It’s always good going in to training and seeing the younger ones who are starting to move their way in to programmes now so it’s quite exciting for our club’s future. All of the coaches know me really well and I’ve got a great relationship with them.”

As the competition draws closer, this is the first competition of a three-year period that Corey hopes will end in selection for the Olympic Games in Paris, 2024.

Speaking about his aspirations for the worlds, he added: “The main target is really just to experience everything and soak everything up.

“We’ve got three years until the next Olympic Games, so this is the first competition in the cycle, so I just want to make sure I get comfortable back on the world stage and deliver everything I’ve been able to in training. That’ll hopefully give me a good platform to work off for the next three years.”

All of the finals from Baku will be shown live across BBC Online, Red Button and iPlayer.