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Gymnastics: Hope soldier Rob Hunter earns place in Welsh Commonwealth Games squad

A FLINTSHIRE gymnast who has not competed for 14 months has been selected to represent Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in India.

Soldier Rob Hunter, from Hope, has been picked for the squad for the Delhi games in October despite not entering any competitions for more than a year.

The former Castell Alun High School pupil is confident his lack of action will mean nothing once he gets to Asia.

“In terms of my form I don’t really know how I am because I haven’t competed for 14 months,” Hunter explained.

“I’ve been working and training so hard for the last year and hopefully it will all come together when I’m out there.”

The 23-year-old, an army mechanical engineer attached to 39th Royal Artillery, also known as the Welsh Gunners, got his confirmation from Team Wales last Friday and although he had a feeling he might be included in the side, it didn’t hit home until the letter arrived.

Now Newcastle-based Hunter cannot wait to represent his country on a world stage.

“It’s definitely going to be an honour,” he said. “I’m nervous to be honest but I’m sure everyone will be.

“The thing I am looking forward to the most is the opening ceremony, they always look amazing on the telly!”

The team flies out to India on September 27 before the games open on October 3.

And Hunter believes the Principality have a great chance of winning medals.

“I think this is the best side Wales has ever had so hopefully we can make our mark when we are out there,” he said.

Talent, determination and hard work has earned Hunter his chance to represent his country at the games, but the gymnast was quick to express his gratitude to several people that have played a big part in him making the cut.

“I want to thank my Mum, Helen Cottle, and my Dad, Keith Hunter as well as my whole family – they’ve been really supportive,” said Hunter.

He also says he owes a lot to two other people from North East Wales.

“Matthew Hennessey, who is also in the squad, is my training partner in Newcastle but he is from Wrexham and he has been great for me,” said Hunter.

“Also, my coach Paul Edwards, who trained both me and Matthew back in Wrexham, has been fantastic.”