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Heap predicts increased medal haul for England

23 July 2002

Craig Heap

Hoping to stretch his way to victory at Games

Craig Heap is confident that England will win more medals in the men’s gymnastics competition than they did at the last Commonwealth Games.

England’s men won five medals at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, including gold in the team competition.

Gymnast Heap, the two-time British all-around champion, is confident England can improve on that tally.

“We’ve got three members of our team from Kuala Lumpur and our two new members are handling the pressure very well,” said Heap. “Training has been going really well and we’re ready for the competition.

“Australia were favourites in Kuala Lumpur and we beat them. This time Canada could be the favourites, but with the home crowd cheering us on, we might beat them and we’ll do well in the individual competitions as well.”

At 29, Heap is the oldest member of the England gymnastics squad. His best performance to date was qualifying for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where he finished 32nd in the individual all-around, but he believes he is in much better shape coming into Manchester.

“I was plagued by injuries in Sydney and I feel fitter than I did in Kuala Lumpur,” he said. “I’m not really thinking about individual medals, but I want to do better than I did last time.

“The crowd is going to be fantastic with a lot of British fans cheering on Scottish and Welsh gymnasts as well as the English.”

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