Shannon and Katie O’Brien were both hoping to compete at the top level of junior trampolining in 2012, but while the former travels to Birmingham for the nationals this weekend, twin sister Katie is recovering from a nasty injury.
The 15-year-olds train at Abbey Flyers Trampoline Club in Sheffield, where Shannon has been preparing for Saturday’s elite competition.
Katie meanwhile is dreaming of a return to the trampoline after crashing off at Loughborough, suffering a sprain and ligament damage.
Mum Diane said one of her daughters was nervous ahead of a big weekend, and the other was hoping to feel the same next year.
“Shannon is excited, but a bit nervous,” Diane told the Guardian. “We’re travelling down to Birmingham on Friday so she gets a couple of hours to prepare in the arena.”
“Wherever she finishes in the competition, that will be her ranking in Great Britain so just to get there is a massive achievement.”
“We were hoping Katie was going to qualify for the nationals too, at a regional tournament in Liverpool, but she had a nasty accident and I feel sorry for her, but she’s hoping to be there next year.” Regional qualifiers are held all over the country, and trampolinists have to reach a certain standard to qualify for the nationals – and then they have to work hard to stay there.
Diane explained: “You have to score a set score and finish in the top 50 per cent.”
“That’s what they train for all year and if you finish in the bottom 20 per cent at the nationals you receive a caution.”
“Two cautions mean you go back down to the regional level and have to go through it all again.”
“They can really be under pressure.”
Fifteen Abbey Flyers have made it to this weekend’s nationals, while Shannon will be joined by fellow Worksop trampolinist Giorgia Dent who trains at Dukeries Academy.
Giorgia, 12, achieved a personal best in a regional event to qualify for the nationals, for the second successive year.