Courtney Tulloch is a three-time senior British champion on rings. Having taken the title in 2015, 2016 and 2017, he’s back in this weekend in Liverpool, hoping for an unprecedented fourth straight title on his favoured apparatus.
Having made history in 2017, winning Great Britain’s first ever medal on rings at a major international championship by taking silver at the European Championships in Cluj, Courtney is definitely one to watch this weekend.
The man from Pegasus Gym Club says he’s looking forward to being back at a packed-out Echo Arena, with the senior event getting underway tomorrow (Saturday): "I absolutely love competing in Liverpool, in front of the crowds that come and the people that are there. It’s amazing and the atmosphere is always incredible. The competition is big, and you know that all the other gymnasts will be ready. They will want to do their best to make sure they’re challenging for medals during the weekend, and I’m no different.
"You walk out, you’ve got the lights flashing and the music on, the big screen is up and the crowd are shouting and clapping. It’s special. It gets your blood pumping and the nerves definitely kick in. What I love most about it all is the arena and being able to compete on a podium. We don’t normally compete on a podium unless it’s at a World or European Championships, so it feels like a big competition before you’ve even started. That’s what gets me motivated to perform at my best."
And the rings is an apparatus like no other. Requiring incredible strength, it’s one of the hardest pieces to master. But having been to numerous events on home soil and abroad, Courtney now has his preparation down to a tee: "Like a lot of other apparatus, the rings is just about doing as many routines and as many repetitions of the skills and dismounts as possible, especially in the build up to competition. Six weeks out, I’ll start really building my routines with two sessions a day and doing as much as I can to be as fit as possible. I have to make sure I’m eating and sleeping right, so that my body has chance to recover for the next day. It all helps to get me in the best possible shape for the competition."
At the 2017 World Championships in Canada, Courtney qualified for the rings final before finishing a very respectable 8th in a high-class field. In that final, the GB gymnast had a higher difficulty score than anyone else, and despite not being happy with his final routine, he’s looking forward to getting back to competitive action: "I was actually a bit disappointed with my end to last year at the World Championships. In the final I felt I’d been competing better routines than that, in terms of cleanness and execution. It was a learning curve but I feel I’m better prepared for 2018 because of it. I’m really hoping for a big year."
That big year starts this weekend, and Courtney is hoping to make an impact at Echo Arena: "Last year I decided I wanted to start pushing for more apparatus. I’ve been working on building up my start values on floor, vault and parallel bars, so this year I’ll be doing four apparatus. I’ve added more difficulty to my rings routine, so hopefully the people in the crowd will enjoy seeing that. I’m hoping for a really positive weekend and I can’t wait to show people at the British Championships what I’ve been working on!"
You can still get tickets to see Courtney in action. Get your last minute tickets to see Courtney and his GB team mates in action.