FOR 16 years, Noranda gymnast Lauren O’Brien has starred in WA gymnastics and is aiming for medal finishes at her eighth national championships.
The Star-Mites Gym Sports Bayswater member was crowned the Level 10 All-Around Champion, WA State Champion for floor and vault at the Autumn State Championships held last week.
O’Brien (20) was selected in the state team for the seventh year and will be travelling to Melbourne for the 2017 Australian Gymnastics Championships.
She will be competing in vault, floor and bars after missing selection for beam.
The Curtin University occupational therapy student said she wanted to add to a national bronze in vault a few years back.
“(Preparation) has been really good, it is coming along well,” she said.
“My goal is a medal at nationals, preferably on vault or floor, probably vault just to get a medal.”
O’Brien said the WA team had two other Star-Mites members and was stronger than previous years.
“We are working on some upgrades (to higher levels) from state championships, so hopefully they can go in for nationals,” she said.
“We have got a lot more upper level girls so we have a team in level 10 this year.”
While national selection for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics was in O’Brien’s sights, she said it would be a difficult goal to achieve.
“To get selected for the Australian team at nationals, you have to do all four and because I was not selected to do beam, it will be tough to get on it but it is possible,” she said.
“Gym has always been there for fun for me.
“It is definitely a dream but if it happens or not, I do not mind, I love gym as it is.”
As a coach at the Bayswater gym, O’Brien said she enjoyed sharing her experience with kids aged seven to 10 years.
“My favourite part of gymnastics is the sense of achievement of getting a new skill, moving up the levels, being able to show what I can do,” she said.
“I coach levels three and four, so I coach them three times a week and even they are so excited.
“Coming from that young age knowing that I was there one time definitely helps coaching them and getting them up further.”
The national championships will be held from May 22 to June 4.