Published: 00:00, 22 June 2019
You won’t find many athletes happier to be at the European Games than Dartford’s Giarnni Regini-Moran.
Regini-Moran, a junior European champion, was tipped for big things when serious injury stopped him in his tracks.
First he snapped knee ligaments, tore his hamstring and fractured his leg in a horror accident which put him out of action for 12 months.
When Regini-Moran finally returned to training, he broke his ankle attempting to vault and was right back where he started.
But the 20-year-old refused to be beaten and is now aiming to complete an astonishing recovery by making Great Britain’s team for the Olympic Games next year.
“I can’t wait to get out there,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like this due to my injuries and it feels an honour and a privilege to be back in amongst the best.
“When I went through my injuries, I didn’t see myself ever being where I am today. All that hard work and struggle is now paying off.
“Going through this process, thinking this time next year that could be me getting ready for the Olympic Games, it gives me the fire to work harder.”
Not all athletes could have fought back from such despair.
“It was horrible,” Regini-Moran admitted. “With my knee, I thought it was game over. I got to a point where I said I was done with the sport.
“Thankfully, my psychologist helped me through that dark time. She talked me through the process and spoke to me weekly.
“It was about positive small steps and looking at the bigger picture. We ended up doing a timeline, from time of injury, how I was feeling, what my leg was like and then we’d do it a few weeks later. That went on for a couple of years.
“Right now the knee’s good, I‘m healthy, fit and doing all-around again but when you look back two years, I’m really sad, feeling stressed and I’m in a lot of pain.
“We did a timeline so I could keep an eye on all the challenging times and all the positive times. Little things like that really helped me. It was a struggle but I got through.”
Regini-Moran wasn’t able to take part in all-around competitions for more than two years, with the second injury his blackest moment.
He said: “I hit rock-bottom. I just couldn’t believe it. I was thinking ‘why me, why do I deserve this?’.-
“I’d put in so much hard work, doing everything I could for my knee and I’d got back ready so why again?
“But I had the mentality of ‘I can’t change what’s happened, it is what it is, if I want to go to the Olympic Games, I’m going to have to keep fighting, keep pushing forward’ and that’s what I did.
“It was hard and there were days when I was mentally struggling but it’s always going to be that way with high-level sport and injuries.
“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and not being able to train, run, jump, walk, that was horrible.
“But I couldn’t have quit because I haven’t achieved what I want to achieve. I knew there was more in me.
“I knew that if I give up now, I’m just a quitter but if I keep fighting, until I physically can’t do any more, at least I can say I tried.
“I’ve always got my eyes on the prize. I want to go out there, do my best and bring back medals. That’s what I train for and that’s what my goals and targets will always be.”
More by this authorSteve Tervet