Jack (9) is jumping for joy

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A local gymnast is jumping for joy after being crowned the Irish National Champion in Dublin.

Nine-year-old Jack Eakin won a total of five gold medals and two silver as well as the champions title beating off competitors from throughout Ireland.

Originally from Mosside, Jack attended Bushvalley Primary School, before moving to Magherafelt last year. However he still has a huge following in the Ballymoney area from family and friends and feels proud to have started his gymnastic career in Coleraine.

His proud mum Kerry explained: “Jack is only nine years old however he is really committed to his gymnastics and trains six days per week for around 21 hours in total.

“He went to Dublin last Saturday to compete in the Irish National Championships at Elite level 1 which is the highest level any gymnast can compete at.

“While he was there Jack won a total of five gold medals and two silver including his all around title of Irish National Champion. We just couldn’t believe it, I was so delighted for him to be rewarded for all his hardwork and commitment.”

However Jack’s journey only began 10 months ago when he went for a trial at Salto National Gymnastics Centre in Lisburn.

Kerry continued: “He went to Sika gymnastics for a few months before we moved and Mary McGoldrick arranged his trial in Salto as they offered men’s artistic gymnasts. He attended there for seven months and then we move him to Rathgael Gymnastics in Bangor as this was the club that high performance coach Luke Carson was based.

“Jack now goes to Woods Primary School just outside Magherafelt and is collected from school and goes straight to Bangor to train for 4.30 until 8pm, he then travels home, gets dinner and goes to bed! He does this Monday to Friday and then again on Sunday he trains from 10am to 2pm. The dedication needed for this sport is unreal and his achievement of Irish Champion is unheard of for only 10 months training.

“He’s making quite an impression and we are so proud! We have many videos of what Jack does and photos but thought it was something definitely worth sharing in his community as he has had to make so many sacrifices right down to his diet.”

Concluding Kerry added: “Jack has a large following on Instagram, if anyone wishes to follow his progress! He will compete in London in September which will be exciting. Jack’s ultimate dream is for a place on Ireland’s Olympic start squad.

“I would like to thank his coaches at Rathgael who have worked so hard with him and also both sets of parents for their support and helping out with travel.

“Jack has made a lot of sacrifices to be where he is, he doesn’t have the typical life of a nine year old which worries me sometimes but his drive and passion for gymnastics is what makes him happy so we can only give him every opportunity to reach his dream of going to the Olympics, which at the start seemed like a pipe dream but he is starting to make that dream realistic.”