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Congratulations on your recent success at the University Games recently, do you still get nervous when you compete in these competitions?
I do still get nervous when I compete but some nerves are good. They remind me what I am doing and to keep focused.
What is your training schedule like? Does it get more intense nearer to a competition?
I train 6 days a week and get Sunday off. My training does get more intense as I lead up to a major competition. I train double sessions most days so itcan be between 4 and 6 hours a day.
You were born in Africa have you been back since you were younger?
I went back to South Africa in 1998 to see where I came from. My parents took me to see where I was born and where we used to live. Too be honest most of it had changed a lot but I enjoyed seeing it.
Having graduated from Liverpool University with a 2:1, is education very important to you?
Education has always been very important to me. You never know what is going to happen so from a young age even though I was doing well with my gymnastics, my parents were very keen that I kept up some form of education and then I have got older it has been my decision to continue with university.
Now you have enrolled to study a Foundation in Health Studies is this your investment for your future after gymnastics?
I am eventually hoping to do a physiotherapy degree. Unfortunately with how my training commitments have panned out my intentions of starting this September has been put on hold.
Is it hard to balance your education with your training and how do you maintain that balance?
Again from a young age I have had to combine education and training and I find it helps me. The education allows me to switch off my training and vice versa. Also with having been at university I have a different life and different set of friends away from gymnastics which helps me switch off when I am away from the gym.
Do you know what you would like to do when you retire from gymnastics?
I have always wanted to be a physiotherapist so maybe I will eventually get around to doing the degree.
You’ve achieved so much for someone so young is there anything you have yet to achieve?
There is still one goal that I haven’t achieved and with being so close in Beijing last year, that is what has encouraged me to stay on til 2012. I am taking each competition and each year as it comes and I will see how I am feeling and my body when the time comes.
You recently said that the Olympics being held in London in 2012 had lured you to want to compete. Is this still a wish of yours?
I would love to compete at 2012. An Olympics is every athletes’ dream let alone it being in your home country. Having the country backing you and being able to perform in front of a home crowd would be an amazing feeling.
What do you like to do to relax when you are not training?
The usually really, catch up with friends and family. Go shopping and go out.
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By Mike Valverde