AFTER realising his dream of becoming an Olympian in Rio, gymnast Brinn Bevan was devastated not to make the British squad for Tokyo.

But the 23-year-old has vowed to bounce back from the disappointment, with Paris 2024 firmly in the sights of the world championship silver medallist.

And Bevan, who hails from Southend-on-Sea and trains alongside double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, is also planning to honour his Welsh heritage at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

He qualifies for Wales through his late grandfather David, who lived in Aberystwyth for most of his life, and has already won medals in a Welsh vest.

However, despite competing at world, Olympic and European level, Bevan is yet to take part in a Commonwealth Games, which next year take place in Birmingham.

He seemed set to go to the Gold Coast with England in 2018 but ended up being overlooked by the selectors, despite winning the all-around title at that year’s British Championships.

Having switched his allegiances to Wales, Bevan won gold and silver medals at the 2019 Northern European Championships.

And now he wants to help further boost the Wales team’s profile on the big stage, as well as pay homage to his Welsh roots.

“We had lots of visits to Aberystwyth when I was younger,” he said. “I used to go and see my grandparents, aunties and cousins, and a lot of the family remain in Wales.

“I was brought up supporting Wales in rugby – my dad used to play for London Welsh – and I always had it instilled in me.

“I loved rugby and we would always watch it together, but living in England, I always got a lot of flak for supporting Wales.

“I also tried learning a bit of Welsh during the first lockdown, although if you put me on the spot, I don’t think I could remember any of it.

“I really want to represent Wales to show my heritage and do it for my family.

“I always wanted to do it but because of the rules it wasn’t easy, so I stuck with what I knew having been born and raised in England.

“I won the all-around at the British Championships just before the Gold Coast but wasn’t selected for England.

“But regardless of results, I wanted to follow my family’s path.”

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He added: “I travelled to the Gold Coast to watch the Commonwealths.

“I met up with the guys in the Welsh and English teams, and it was good to be a part of it, even though I wasn’t competing.

“I saw what the Welsh boys were doing and the performances they put in, and I really knew I wanted to be part of it.

“You could see the potential and character in the squad and what could be achieved going forward.

“I’m really hopeful of making some finals and winning medals as a team and as an individual at Welsh competitions, but specifically the Commonwealth Games.

“Gymnastics isn’t a sport Wales’ men have had great results in, so I would love to be a part of history.

“I really feel that Wales can make progress and everyone in the squad can help change things.

“I’ve known the Welsh guys for a while and I’ve had some training sessions with them, and I hope we can do something special together at the Commonwealth Games.”

The only Welshman to win a Commonwealth Games gymnastics medal was David Eaton on the high bar in 2006.

Right now, Bevan is recovering from a fractured left tibia, an injury sustained at the very end of the final Olympic trial.

He broke the same leg leading up to his Olympic debut in 2016 but defied the odds to return to full fitness in time for the trip to South America.

Competing in Rio was a poignant moment for Bevan as it fulfilled a promise he had made to dad Jamie on his deathbed seven years earlier.

“I lived up to my promise that I would get to the Olympics,do my best and try and win a medal,” said Bevan. “It felt like I had fulfilled what I had set out to do.”

He added: “Growing up, the Olympics were what I was aiming for, but I wasn’t certain Rio would be the first.

“I was part of the team that won silver at the 2015 World Championships.

“That was a historic result for Great Britain’s men as we had never won a team medal at the Worlds before.

“After that, I broke my leg, snapping the tibia and fibula, and the prospect of me going to the Olympics was very slim – I was told it was more or less impossible.

“But I got back to the gym much earlier than I was told I would. I think it was just me being stubborn and not being prepared to accept that I couldn’t make the Olympics.

“I hadn’t worked hard for 17 years to let that moment slip, and I didn’t want to wait another four years for my first Olympic experience.

“For a gymnast, the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of your career.

“Unfortunately, as a team, we came up just short of a medal and finished fourth, but it was the best experience of my life. It was amazing.

“I had such a great time and was happy with all my performances. It made me hungrier for the future.”

In Tokyo, Whitlock will lead a four-man team which also includes world parallel bars champion Joe Fraser, British all-around champion James Hall and European medallist Giarnni Regini-Moran.

Bevan said: “They’ve definitely got an opportunity to come back with some medals.

“Max is the defending champion on the floor and pommel horse and Joe is world champion on the parallel bars.

“The other two have been working hard and competed at European and world championships.

“Hopefully they have a great experience and produce the best results they can as individuals and as a team.

“I’ll be wishing I was there but I know how much hard work has gone in and we all get behind each other.”

He added: “I’ll be back. I plan to carry on for as long as I can, and for as long as my body allows me to.

“I will definitely go for the next Olympics. The Commonwealths and World Championships are next year and then Paris 2024 will be just around the corner.”