Gymnast Imogen Cairns is aiming to overcome injury that has sidelined her for 15 months so she can represent England at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Imogen, who celebrated her 21st birthday on Tuesday 26th January, exactly 250 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of the Games, struck gold on the vault at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, when she was also a member of the England team that won silver in the team all-around competition.
But she has been out of action through an injury she suffered in October 2008, shortly after she had made her Olympic debut at the Beijing 2008 Games.
Imogen, who is originally from Devon, but now lives and trains in Portishead near Bristol, suffered damage to both of her feet taking part in the floor exercise at her first competition after Beijing.
Two operations later and following six months on crutches, she is now just starting to do impact work again, with the target of winning selection for the England team for Delhi.
“I loved the Commonwealth Games and had such a great time in Melbourne,” she said. “My goal is to be there in Delhi. I’m going to try my best to be there.
“It’s not certain I’ll be there, but I just want to give it this last shot,” she added. “I don’t want to look back and regret not trying.
“I need to start setting myself targets and goals. First I need to get back to a certain level and get some confidence out of competing again, then see where that leads. I know it’s still in me.
Imogen has received messages of support during her recovery from Beth Tweddle, who won the World Championship on the floor last year.
As well as competing at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Imogen also saw action for England at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Australia in 2004. She was a member of the England gymnastics team that won gold in the team event, and she also won gold on the vault, silver on the floor and bronze in the individual all-around competition.
Imogen is coached by Liz Kincaid at The Academy of Gymnastics in Portishead. She has been helped back on the road to recovery by staff at the English Institute of Sport at the University of Bath.
England finished third behind Australia and Canada in the artistic gymnastics medals table at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games with two gold medals, two silvers and two bronzes.