May 1, 2020 / 6:13 PM / a month ago

'I'm out of shape with gyms closed', says Britain's Cunningham

(Reuters) - British gymnast Dominick Cunningham says he is slowly getting “out of shape” with no place to train for next year’s Olympic Games after gyms were closed down to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Team GB Gymnast, Dominick Cunningham trains at a horse stables in Walsall, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Walsall, Britain, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Carl Recine

The coronavirus outbreak has left him training at a horse stable in Walsall and the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist said it was ‘impossible’ for gymnasts to train outside a gym.

“I’m out of shape. It is hard to replicate gymnastics outside of the gym, it’s pretty much impossible,” Cunningham told Reuters. “My wrists and ankles are getting weak.

“Mentally it’s impacted me in a way where I can see myself getting unfit and I’ve never been in this ‘worse of shape’. My hands are getting soft, muscles are starting to depreciate, getting a little bit more fat.”

The Olympics, originally scheduled to start in July this year in Tokyo, have been postponed to July 23-Aug. 8, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cunningham said he hopes they go ahead next year.

“I want it to happen. From a young age, from the age of five, I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m getting old. I’ve worked so hard for it.

“This is just a small hurdle along the way... But there is a bigger picture. I think the world is under attack.

“Once everything gets back on track, I want the Olympics to be a massive celebration for the whole world and that’s going to bring everyone together... The Olympics has to happen.”

British gymnastics has come a long way in recent years, with Team GB gymnasts finishing with seven medals at the 2016 Rio Games — their most successful Olympics ever — and Cunningham credits their success as a motivating factor.

“In the past we’ve had people getting medals and that is where it all comes from,” he said.

“If we didn’t have those people who have built the foundation for me to sit on now, and for me to keep going, they wouldn’t have given me the motivation.”

Reporting by Carl Recine, writing by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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