Less than two years ago, gymnast Courtney Tulloch was up on stage at SportsAid’s annual SportsBall receiving the charity’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award from London 2012 heroes Kristian Thomas and Max Whitlock.
This week he has been competing alongside them as part of the most successful British team ever seen at a world gymnastics championships.
Yesterday the team – comprising Max Whitlock, Kristian Thomas (SportsAid Award 2006), Dan Keatings (SportsAid Award 2008), Dan Purvis (SportsAid Award 2006), Nile Wilson (SportsAid Awards 2008-09 and 2010-11, Asda) and Courtney Tulloch (SportsAid Awards 2005 and 2011-14, Kent County Council) – finished in fourth place in the team final in Nanning, China, and were less than two points away from a bronze medal.
Team captain Kristian Thomas said, “We put in everything and just came up a little but short of the medals today, it’s disappointing but that just shows how high our aims are. We know that this is just the first step though, we have an incredible team with a great mix of experience and the young guys who have been exceptional, and it is a great base to work from on our road to the Rio Olympics.”
19-year-old Courtney showed his talent on the rings, his specialist apparatus, with in a display of immense strength to secure the team’s top score of 14.966. At the half-way point this had helped put Britain into the silver medal position thanks to clean performances all-round but a strong finish by China and the USA left them with a final tally of 269.170 – just short of the podium finish we saw at London 2012.Speaking at the SportsBall in 2012, Courtney said, "I am absolutely delighted to win the SportsAid One-to-Watch Award. It was amazing to have been nominated amongst so many talented athletes from different sports. To be actually selected as the winner is a great feeling. To know that my achievements have been recognised and that people think I am one to watch for the future will only help me train harder to reach my full potential.”
Read more about the One-to-Watch Award on the SportsBall website where you can also download a booking form to buy tickets and tables for this year's event.