Courtney Tulloch will have Greek rings superstar Eleftherios Petrounias in his sights when he targets the first major individual medal of his career at the European Championships in Cluj on Saturday.
The Kent 21-year-old qualified in third place for the final behind Petrounias, the reigning Olympic, world and European champion who is seven years his senior, and Artur Tovmasyan of Armenia.
Tulloch is the youngest gymnast in the eight-man final and believes the unique physical requirements of his apparatus gives him time to eclipse his rivals by the time Tokyo 2020 swings around.
Tulloch told Press Association Sport: “Petrounias is an amazing gymnast but I want to catch him – I don’t go into competitions looking to get second place.
“He’s a really nice guy and I look up to him but in competition you’ve got to shut it out. In rings you develop your strength at a later age so I know I’m going in the right direction.”
Despite his relatively tender years Tulloch already has a rings move named after him – the ‘Tulloch’ has been given an ‘F’ grade by the sport’s world governing body, the hardest possible degree of difficulty.
Tulloch added: “Having a move named after me is something I’m mega-proud of. I developed it at the age of 12 but kept it secret until I reached the worlds final in Nanning in 2014.
“I put it in to the governing body and they accepted it straight away. It’s a great honour to have and I’m working on making it even better for the next worlds in Montreal at the end of the year.”