Anticipation building ahead of Francesca’s big moment

Great Britain's Francesca Jones poses during the Visa International Gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 17, 2012. See PA story GYMNASTICS London. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Great Britain's Francesca Jones poses during the Visa International Gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 17, 2012. See PA story GYMNASTICS London. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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With the Olympic Games in full swing, it is hard to imagine how those who are waiting to take to the grandest stage of them all are feeling.

Wellingborough’s Francesca Jones falls into that particular category.

While so many other British competitors are experiencing the partisan atmosphere and incredible support from their fellow countrymen and women in London, Jones is still in Birmingham where she is training ahead of the individual rhythmic gymnastics competition.

That starts in a week and Jones won’t even get a taste of the Olympic village until she heads to the capital on Sunday.

It is almost a month since the 21-year-old was, as expected, named as Britain’s sole rhythmic gymnast for the Games.

And she insists the busy training schedule has helped her stay focused on the job at hand.

“There are already a few nerves,” she said.

“But I am still focused on training and I don’t think the actual scale of the Olympics will hit me until I am in London on Sunday.

“I have seen plenty of messages on twitter and things like that from my team-mates, who have been describing the atmosphere down there.

“But I can’t even imagine what it is like. I am not going to think about it too much. I am just going to enjoy it and savour it when I am there.

“To be honest, it is all still a bit surreal. It’s strange watching it all happening on the television knowing that I am going to be in it soon.”

Jones’ spot at the Olympics has been well earned.

She remains the top rhythmic gymnast in Britain after finishing as the top-placed Brit at last year’s World Championships.

And she claimed her sixth British title in style in Stoke-on-Trent this month.

There shouldn’t be any danger of her being fazed by the Olympic monster though.

She has been to two Commonwealth Games and won the silver medal in the hoop discipline two years ago in Delhi.

And she is hoping that experience will stand her in good stead.

“I think it is a good thing that I have been through a couple of Commonwealth Games.

“Just having the experience of the village will ensure it is not too overwhelming when I get to London.

“That experience has helped me prepare for this.”

The artistic gymnasts have already made their own big impact on the Games, especially the British men’s team who claimed a superb bronze medal.

And Jones admits the performance of the men was something she can take great inspiration from.

“It was a phenomenal effort from the guys,” she said.

“I managed to watch it in the gym after I had finished training on Monday.

“It was amazing and I actually felt nervous for them myself.

“Of course, that is a massive inspiration, they were brilliant.”

The one thing that has been noticeable about these Olympics so far has been the support for the British team.

It was, of course, pretty obvious that the country would be right behind our competitors.

But, from seeing and hearing interviews with those who have already competed, it is clear that the level of noise being generated by the British fans at the various venues has exceeded expectations.

It will be no different when Jones steps into Wembley Arena on Thursday and she is ready to use that support to help her do the best she can.

“The level of support the team have been getting has been stunning.

“It has been a long wait for these Olympics and it is no surprise that the British people are getting behind the team. It has only made it even more exciting.

“I hope it is the same for me next week, I am sure it will.

“And that kind of support can only be a good thing, although it will be important not to get overwhelmed by it.

“At the moment, I can only imagine what it is like. I can’t wait to find out for real.”

There has, of course, been plenty of support for Jones already from her home town of Wellingborough and Northamptonshire in general.

She added: “I have a lot of friends in Wellingborough who are right behind me.

“They have been in touch and I know they will be watching.

“I just want to do them and everyone else proud.”

This appearance at the Olympics has been well earned for Jones.

She is the best of British when it comes to rhythmic gymnastics and this moment is what she would have dared to dream about for so many years.

There is no doubt that each and every sports fan in the county will be proud of her when she gets her time in the spotlight.

Good luck Francesca! We are all right behind you!