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Cunningham Motivated To 'Work Harder And More Sensibly'
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Reflecting on a successful year that included a gold medal-winning performance on floor exercise at the 2018 European Championships and a fourth-place finish on vault at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, British gymnast Dominick Cunningham is preparing to take on challenging new difficulty in future competitions.

The 23-year-old Cunningham, who was born and trains in Birmingham, England, placed second all-around and first on vault at both the 2017 and 2018 British Championships. He placed first on floor exercise at the Europeans held in Glasgow in August, and missed a vault medal at this fall’s Worlds by 0.009 points.

In this IG Online interview, Cunningham comments on his performances in Doha and Glasgow, and forecasts his upcoming prospects.

IG: Given that you were very close to third place on vault in Doha, would you consider your performance a success on its own or do you think you could have challenged for a medal with a slightly better performance?

DC: My target was to land my vaults and let the results do the talking. I was very happy with my performance—I’m not competing against babies. These are the best in the world!

IG: (Gold medalist) Ri’s Se Gwang’s Difficulty-scores are so high, but what do you think you can do to close the gap with him? Will you work to improve your D-scores, or try to outscore him in execution?

DC: I knew his D-scores as he has been doing those vaults for years. I will be upgrading my first vault but I had to get used to competing a half-on vault first.  I know going forward my execution will be a lot higher and that is an area I may be able to make up ground on him.

IG: How realistic would it be for anyone to beat Ri at this point?

DC: At this point, anything can happen in gymnastics. The scores can be so close. For example, when I came fourth by 0.009, this is how competitive it is.

IG: As the European champion on floor, did you have higher expectations than your actual performance in qualifications?

DC: Floor is a tough one for me. I was happy to just put in consistent scores for the team but I know I need to upgrade my D-score going forward.

IG: Your floor tumbling was solid, and you had only minor landing issues on your passes. Do you think the landings are what cost you a place in the final, or was it one or more factors?

DC: I need to increase my difficulty. Landings are why I won in the European Championships. I knew I wouldn’t push anywhere near the World medals with this routine, so I need to increase my difficulty.

IG: What is your biggest take-away from Doha, in terms of your own gymnastics and how it compares to the rest of the world?

DC: The biggest thing I took from this World Championships is that I am not currently at the level to medal, and that makes me motivated to work harder and more sensibly, so I’m looking forward to the future.

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