Thomas picks up silver at Gymnastics Championships

Thomas (centre) pictured with other young gymnasts at the Games.
Thomas (centre) pictured with other young gymnasts at the Games.

A local teenager has picked up a silver medal at the Down Syndrome World Gymnastics Championships in Bochum, Germany.

Thomas Tyrrell, from Carnlough, represented Ireland in the level one novice senior category during the competition at the weekend.

Thomas arriving home with his dad, Tom.

Thomas arriving home with his dad, Tom.

Thomas and his family previously lived in Jersey, before moving to the Antrim coast two years ago. His mother, Catherine said: "Thomas is a young Down Syndrome man with severe learning difficulties. He has loved sport from a young age and was lucky to join the Jersey Special Gymnastics team at seven years of age, where he took part in many local and UK games and won the National Junior Male Artistic Champion Trophy at the age of 16.

"We are very proud parents that Thomas has taken part in his first senior competition, as he just turned 18 last month."

A pupil of Castle Tower School in Ballymena, Thomas is active in a number of clubs including Special Olympics, Ballymoney Swimming Club, Ballymena Bears tag rugby and Salto gymnastic centre outside Belfast, where he currently trains once a week.

He has now set his sights on competing at elite level during the next Games, to be held in Turkey in 2020.

Training for the contest.

Training for the contest.

"To compete at this level we need to be training two or three times a week," Catherine added.

"Hopefully we'll find some training closer to home and maybe try to set up a club."