Jim Lyon – Keatings gold is one of sport’s great redemption moments

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann

Like a guilty puppy giving a doe-eyed look of apology or a naughty child redeeming themselves through pure cuteness, sport has a habit of producing moments that make you forgive without a moment’s thought.

Just as on Thursday evening.

Much as during the Olympics of a couple of years ago, the Commonwealth Games highlight the true joy of sport.

It puts in the spotlight talented athletes who sacrifice everything, put heart and soul into their work and show passion and endeavour that other, better rewarded, performers rarely match.

So in a week when cricket is squabbling over who pushed who, yet another footballer has been given temporary accommodation by Her Majesty’s constabulary and we have racing drivers who say it’s not fair when they are told what to do, it is wonderful we have the friendly games to bring some redemption.

And what could possibly top Daniel Keatings’ golden moment?

Fortune has not always been on the best terms with the Corby man.

With a World Championship silver medal and gold at the Europeans in his presentation cabinet by the end of the last decade, it seemed he was ready to show the globe exactly how good he was.

But damage to his ankle ligaments - and several other injury issues - preceded his omission from the Great Britain team for the Olympics in London.

It would be wrong to speculate about exactly how Keatings felt post-2012 but it would not take a massive leap of faith to think there must have been some desperately dark hours for him.

Everything he had worked for since the time he was on eye level with a grasshopper’s knee was being eroded.

Yet, just a couple of years later, there he was on Thursday night standing proudly at the top of a podium, gold medal around his neck and with a home crowd screaming their support and sharing his joy.

It might not be the Olympics. So what?

He produced a quite amazing routine and saw off competition from two of the world’s best in Louis Smith and Max Whitlock.

But, more than that, it was reward for all the hard hours of training and hopefully makes those bad times now feel a little less painful.

Like I said - sport, on several different levels, has a habit of redeeming itself.