Caitlin O’Brien targets senior GB team after World Age Group success

Head coach and GB DMTsquad coach, Lauren Jeffrey with senior gymnast Caitlin O'Brien (picture: Claire Laurenson)
Head coach and GB DMTsquad coach, Lauren Jeffrey with senior gymnast Caitlin O'Brien (picture: Claire Laurenson)

A Midlothian trampolinist will be up against the best British gymnastics has to offer when she goes down for the national trials this weekend.

Caitlin O’Brien (19), from Fairmilehead, is pushing for a place on the senior women’s Double Mini Trampolining (DMT) team which will compete in April’s European Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Standing in her way of a seat on the plane are nine other hugely determined gymnasts desperate to impress judges at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire on Saturday.

Caitlin’s preparation has been slightly hampered by a niggling ankle injury but her confidence has been boosted by her World Age Group Championship success in Sofia only a few months ago.

Caitlin, a trampolinist at City of Edinburgh Trampolining in Lasswade, said: “Training has been good. I have been struggling a little bit with an ankle injury but I’ve been training through it and it should be fine for the weekend.

“It’s probably more a mental thing than physical. I’ve had injuries before but this is the first time it has been this close to a trial.

“There will be ten of us trialling for four places on the team. It’s a high standard and there are not that many places. It’s hard to say how it will go, it all depends on how it goes on the day. If I can perform at my best then I’ll give myself the best chance.”

The University of Stirling student showed what she was capable of when she became a world champion, winning gold ahead of two Canadians at the World Age Championships in November. Caitlin said that victory was a dream come true but she believes the GB trials will be a step up in class. She has competed at this level though and made the British senior team twice before.

She said: “The victory in Sofia does give me a lot more confidence but this is now senior level – it’s a different league – but having that win behind me is a good boost.

“I’m competing against the best girls in the UK. We are all at a similar standard at the moment and it will just depend how everyone performs on the day.

“Two years ago I competed in the European Championship senior team which was in Valladolid in Spain I was actually the reserve for that team. The first senior championship I came seventh. She also competed in the Loule Cup in Portugal last October where she picked up a silver medal in her age group.

She said: “I really hope I get a place on the team and there is maybe a bit more pressure this year with being the World Age Group champion. There’s an expectation I put on myself to make the step up and compete for the Europeans.

“I try not to think about that though when I perform, I’ll just do the best I can and try to pretend like it does not mean anything when it means everything.”