THE suspension of sport caused by the coronavirus pandemic may inadvertently have lengthened Ben Goodall’s career.

The tumbler, from Harwell, has been unable to train properly since lockdown was imposed in March and may not return to a leisure centre until October.

Goodall was meant to be enjoying his first year in Great Britain’s senior squad after claiming bronze at the 2019 World Age Group Championships in Tokyo last December.

The 21-year-old could be forgiven for feeling frustrated at the enforced break, but the time away has instead proved beneficial.

Goodall suffered a serious back injury in 2016 and admitted he has been unable to properly address the issue until now.

“It’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise,” he said.

“I’d ramp it up going into competitions, then take a few steps back on purpose to calm things down.

“The injury has always been something I’ve been managing and having forced time off has given me a lot of time for rehab.

“This wasn’t planned, but it’s always been something in the back of my mind.

“It will increase my longevity, so from the rest and recovery side of things it has been useful.”

Goodall is based in Bournemouth, where he has just graduated from university.

The rising star trained at one of the town’s leisure centres, which will be allowed to reopen from Saturday in the latest easing of lockdown restrictions.

Whether this happens remains to be seen, with the facility potentially holding off until October if it is not financially viable.

While that would mean a seven-month break without proper training, Goodall is relaxed about the situation.

He said: “I’m in a good position to know what can be done.

“A lot of rehab doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

“I’ve had time to build my training around base strength, endurance and general resilience.”

It comes after Goodall enjoyed a stellar 2019, winning the British qualifiers, English title and British Championships before his third place in the 17-21 category in Tokyo.

Yet now his career is on hold, as rivals from other countries begin training again.

The situation is far from ideal, but Goodall is confident he will not be left behind.

“It feels a bit unfair, because some countries are able to get back sooner than others,” he said.

“But it’s not something that particularly bothers me because what really matters is who makes the most of what’s available to them.

“When I was injured, spending all that time on my back actually made those skills come back better.

“You realise how real muscle memory is when you see how quickly the skills come back.”