GYMNASTICS: Paul Hall leaves behind a Huntingdon Gymnastics Club legacy as he begins work as Great Britain men’s head coach

Paul Hall left with Olympic star Louis Smith.

Paul Hall left with Olympic star Louis Smith. - Credit: Archant

Paul Hall is relishing the challenge of being men’s head coach for British Gymnastics.

Hall, who has been associated with Huntingdon Gymnastics Club for a quarter-of-a-century and as head coach since 2003, begins work in his new role next week.

Hall is a hugely respected figure in the sport after plotting the careers of top British stars Louis Smith and Dan Keatings from the Mayfield Road talent factory.

And he has now been tasked with ensuring Great Britain continues to enjoy medal glory on the biggest stages in the sport.

Hall, 54, told the Hunts Post: “I’m honoured and excited to be taking up my new role.

“When offered the job it was a very difficult decision as Huntingdon Gymnastics Club has been such a massive part of my life, but it was made so much easier by the fact that Huntingdon operates so smoothly with great staff and trustees.

“I’m very proud and very pleased with how the club has developed and feel sure I leave it in safe hands for the future.

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“I see my new role as a big challenge that comes with huge responsibility.

“There is so much talent in the country after the success we’ve had in the recent years through the likes of Louis and Dan, and we need to ensure we continue winning World and Olympic medals.

“We also need to have a good and healthy culture in place and ensure that everyone enjoys the journey and emerges as a rounded individual.

“Gymnastics is a supremely difficult sport and I’m going to enjoy working with all coaches and gymnasts within the GB programme, nurturing the talent and hoping it comes to fruition on the international stage.”

Hall’s first big event as Great Britain chief is the European Championships in Glasgow at the beginning of August. They are followed by the World Championhips in Qatar in October – an event which marks the start of the qualification process for 2020 Olympic Games.

Hall, who is based in Spaldwick, has lectured across the world for the International Gymnastics Federation and was awarded an MBE for his services to the sport in 2012.

British Gymnastics performance director James Thomas said: “Paul is respected throughout Great Britain and the world for his coaching expertise.

“We know Paul will be keen to work closely with the performance staff and network of personal coaches to build on the successes of previous cycles as we head towards Tokyo 2020.”

* Huntingdon talent Jake Jarman, 16, heads to Azerbaijan today (Wednesday) to compete in a Youth Olympic Games qualifier.