Wearside’s Kat Driscoll goes for Olympic glory this weekend on the trampoline

Kat Driscoll and the Team GB Gymnastics squad  at Lilleshall National Sports Centre.  Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire
Kat Driscoll and the Team GB Gymnastics squad at Lilleshall National Sports Centre. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire
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Born in Kent but made on Wearside.

That is Kat Driscoll, who goes for Olympic glory this weekend on the trampoline.

I hope me reaching Rio will inspire a few more to hopefully get started in the sport

Kat Driscoll

The 30-year-old from West Rainton is competing in her second games, having finished just 0.001 marks outside a place in the final on her Olympic debut in London in 2012.

Driscoll has made Durham her home after leaving her home town of Chatham, in Kent, after coming of age.

The keen and talented trampolinist decided Washington was where she could chase her dream and has “never looked back” since, having been inspired and coached by Apollo boss, Bill Leach.

“Bill was the junior national coach at the time and I had a lot of friends on the national team,” Kat told the Echo.

“I used to come up here every school holidays to train with my friends.

“I really like the environment up here, it was very relaxed, it allowed me to train because I wanted to and because I wanted to get better.

“There was no-one here telling me to do A, B, C and D all the time and being constantly on my case.

“I felt at home here from the very first time I came up.

“So when I turned 18 it was kind of up to me to make some decisions.

“I thought ‘right, I know where I need to be, I need to be somewhere where I can be the best I can possibly be’.

“When I turned 18, I moved up here and have never looked back.”

Driscoll will be taking part in the qualification programme on Saturday with the top 10 going through to Sunday’s final.

The European Championship bronze medallist has been in the form of her life over the last year and is a good bet for a final spot.

And she will be representing the Apollo Club, based at Washington Leisure Centre, with pride.

“Apollo is a great club,” she said.

“We’ve had a really good history of having people on national teams, making British and European championships.

“We have a really group of young kids.

“I think London helped us having an Olympian from the North-East, it draws people in.

“The way it works at our club is that I come in and train at the same time as someone who could be walking in for their first session.

“We literally can have a beginner all the way through to me in one training session.

“It’s fantastic the kids can watch me train, see what I do, come and talk to me.

“We’ve got a really good group of kids, we must have between 15 and 20 who are jumping on the national circuit now.

“Before we might have had between seven and 10 so we can see that our standard is rising.

“I hope me reaching Rio will inspire a few more to hopefully get started in the sport.”