Corby's Keatings so proud of his illustrious career

When Daniel Keatings looks back on his career, he does so with a great deal of pride.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 6:45 am
Winning gold in the pommel horse at the 2014 Commonwealth Games was just one of many highlights in the fine career of Corby's Daniel Keatings

The Corby gymnast announced his retirement from the sport last week at the age of 27 and it resulted in an outpouring of tributes from far and wide.

While British gymnastics is now dominated by Max Whitlock who won double Olympic gold in Rio last year, it was Keatings and Louis Smith who paved the way.

Long hours of training at Huntingdon Olympic Gymnastics Club set Keatings and Smith up to burst on to the world stage and start the revolution.

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Both of them went to the Beijing Olympics and Keatings went on to make history in the years to come, winning the first-ever all-around medal for a British gymnast at a World Championship when he did so in London in 2009.

European and Commonwealth titles in his favoured pommel horse followed but his career wasn’t without its darker moments as a serious knee injury put paid to his chances of competing at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 when he would have been at his peak.

Nonetheless, Keatings insists he feels proud to have played a part in bringing British men’s gymnastics to the fore.

“I feel very proud of where gymnastics is now and how far it has come since I started achieving results on the European and world stage,” he said.

“Back then, it was just me and Louis (Smith) aiming for medals and now there are 10 guys who are aiming for them.

“I am pleased I played a part in the development of men’s gymnastics in Great Britain.

“I have five main memories.

“The 2009 World Championships when I won the silver medal in the all-round at the O2 Arena, winning the gold pommel horse at the 2010 European Championships, retaining that title in Moscow in 2013, gold in the pommel horse at the Commonwealth Games and also competing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

“Looking back on all of that, it’s been amazing.

“And it was great when I announced my retirement because people were posting old videos of my routines on Twitter and it was like a showreel of my career.

“It really showed what I have achieved and I am very proud of all of it.”

Keatings is now looking forward to leading a “normal life” away from gymnastics and admitted it was the “right time” to retire.

“I think it was just the right time to be honest,” he added said.

“Over the last couple of years I have been getting quite a few injuries and the reality is I am not getting any younger.

“It is the right time to retire and let the younger guys take it on from here.

“At the moment I have got my own salon, which my sister is running and I have just started working at Weetabix in Burton Latimer.

“So it is going to be nice to lead a normal life for once and I am looking forward to it.

“But gymnastics has been my life and I am not just going to let that go.

“So I hope I will be able to carry on doing things like commentary to make sure I stay involved.”