DANIEL Purvis has already had two memorable experiences of competing on home ground – the Olympic Games in 2012 and the World Cup event at the Emirates in Glasgow late last year.
He expects the Commonwealth Games this summer to be at least as memorable, and has ambitions of again standing on the podium, this time as the Saltire is raised.
The Southport-based gymnast, now 23, was part of the men’s team that won bronze in London. He was second in the individual all-around event at the Emirates. First place at the Commonwealth Games is a realistic, if tough, goal, and he believes he has now accrued the experience to deal with the pressure of top-level competition.
“At London 2012, the gymnastics competition was enjoyable, but it was also terrifying to think that everyone was there to see you get a result,” he said. “Standing on the podium at the end, when we won bronze in the all-around team competition, was the best experience of my career so far.
“The Olympics taught me to treat a big event like any other competition. Obviously it’s not – getting to compete in the Olympics on home soil was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and competing in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games will be the same.
“But in terms of your approach to the competition, and not getting too distracted by the atmosphere, it is best to think the way you would at any other event. I hope I can go into the Commonwealth Games trying to relax a little bit and enjoy the occasion.”
The SSE Hydro, not the Emirates, will be the setting for the eight days of artistic and rhythmic gymnastics competition, but Purvis is sure that the latter venue gave him a good foretaste of the Glasgow atmosphere. “It was one of the best events since the Olympics. And it was in a great arena, so it was just a great feeling to be competing there.
“It was sold out, so that was special too. I was the last person to walk out at the start of the competition, and I got the loudest cheer, which was really inspiring. I’m sure there’s going to be a similar feeling at the Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd. It should be quite an occasion.
“Obviously Scotland has won individual medals in the past, with Steve Frew winning gold on the rings in Manchester and Adam Cox getting a bronze in the horizontal bar in Melbourne. But if we get a medal in the team event, that will be the first time we’ve ever done that.
“We’re looking really strong at the moment. I think the selectors may be struggling to decide on who to put in the team.
“Our strongest rivals are going to be England. I’ve competed for Scotland, as opposed to Great Britain, several times in the past, but never against England. So as you can guess, with us all training and competing together in the Great Britain squad, the banter has started already.”