With Olympic qualification having changed for Tokyo 2020, the Baku World Cup gives gymnasts from around the world the first opportunity to accrue points that will decide whether they win a place in Japan next year. Read more about the Olympic qualifying process.
We caught up with Kat just before she flew out to Baku, to find out how she’s feeling ahead of the first competition of 2018.
Kat, going in to this World Cup, how’s your preparation been?
"For me the preparation has been the best I’ve had. I’ve never felt as well prepared for a competition. The block of work I’ve been doing has been really good and I feel confident and ready to go.
"The rest of the team all look ready to go too, so it’s just a case of staying calm when we get out there and focussing on doing what we’ve been doing in training."
Can you just explain how your training has changed over the last few months?
"At the end of November I centralised my training here (at Lilleshall National Sports Centre), so I haven’t had to miss any training due to travel, meaning my recovery has been really good.
"I moved to Telford at the end of November, so I can now train at Lilleshall National Sports Centre, and I do so on a Monday to Saturday. I train in the gym in the morning for around two and a half hours, going through cardio work and the supplementary gym work. Then I trampoline train at four o’clock every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, then do strength work on a Wednesday afternoon and a Saturday afternoon. Before I moved, I was having to drive in for 220 miles, so I would lose every Monday morning just for travel.
"For me the recovery part is great, as I get to go home in the evening, prepare my own food and get a good night’s sleep. It means when I’m here, at Lilleshall, my concentration is completely on what I need to do."
Going in to this weekend, what are your aims?
"I want to deliver routines as I’ve been training them. I’ve been jumping higher, my HD (horizontal displacement) has been better, and I’ve made a lot of improvements.
"There’s slightly different tactics going in to a World Cup. At a World Championships, you just need to make the top 24 to get in to the final, but for a World Cup, to make a final, you have to qualify in the top eight. That means there’s more emphasis on really hitting your routine and being very good in both qualifying routines.
"I really want to show the improvements I’ve made and hopefully that gets me somewhere close to a final, because the higher we finish, the more points we get."