LAURA Gallagher’s dream of competing at the Olympic Games has been put back by 12 months, but the Bridgwater gymnast is keeping her sense of perspective.

Last month it was announced that the Tokyo Games would be postponed until July 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gallagher, who hails from Westonzoyland, admits that the decision was a blow, but it was also a relief to have some confirmation.

“It was a relief to have the decision made,” the 31-year-old told the Mercury.

“I was gutted, but it was definitely the right decision - health comes first, and everything else can wait.

“As an athlete you plan meticulously, and aim to peak at a certain time.

“I’d had a great few months and a really good training block, so it was a bit of a shame not to build on that.

“But, in perspective, that’s not important in the greater scheme of things.

“Many have had their plans shattered - I’m lucky to have my health.”

Gallagher, who was crowned British champion in 2017, was in the form of her life, producing a stellar individual performance at the 2019 World Championships to help Team GB qualify for Tokyo.

But, having aimed to peak in July 2020, she must now refocus on hitting top form in July 2021 - providing she is selected to represent Britain at the Olympics.

Team announcements were due to be made in June, and while Gallagher helped GB qualify for the Games, her place as an individual is not yet secure.

She said: “We’ve had a couple of weeks to re-frame things, but we can’t plan too much because we’re not sure which events will still take place, and selection will need to be re-framed as well.

“I’m in the later stages of my career, so it feels like a bigger impact than for someone younger.

“My focus is on getting it right next year.

“I try to look at it positively - initially I was quite emotional, but I have to turn it around, and how I can make it a good thing.

“It gives me more time to work on certain things, and I could possibly be even better next year.

“The [coaching] team around us are very experienced, and they will work on getting us to peak at the right time.”

The impact of a 12-month postponement extends beyond an athlete’s performance, of course, as their whole life is affected, too.

Gallagher explains: “I’ve committed to training in Shropshire [Lilleshall National Sports Centre, where British Gymnastics is based] from Monday to Friday, away from my family and friends, so I’m now looking at doing that for another year.

“But my hunger to achieve my dreams will drive me there.

“I’ve had long chats about it with my husband - I’m lucky to have great support around me.”

Gallagher is also grateful to have the support from the sport’s national set-up.

“British Gymnastics have been brilliant, they’ve communicated with us really well.

“Our programme director has answered as many of our questions as possible, although there are a lot of unknowns.

“Every Monday we have a team meeting, and every Wednesday an individual meeting with the national coach.

“I’m also keeping in regular contact with my coach [Sue Bramble] at Quayside Trampoline & Gymnastics Club.

“Keeping in touch makes things easier - I know that from my times out with injury.”

Gallagher admits that trampolining is something that’s difficult to train for, away from the proper facilities, but she is doing her best to keep herself in shape.

“I’m just keeping fit and getting creative with my training.

“The first week [after the postponement], motivation was quite tricky - I didn’t feel like it at all.

“I’m working on structure and planning, keeping as much of a routine as possible, getting plenty of sleep and eating well.

“There’s mats in the garden, a stationary bike... there’s limited equipment but I have what I need.

“Trampolining is something you can’t really replicate.

“We don’t know how much longer it will be, and we need time to build ourselves up and work on orientation.

“So I’m not really looking at the time, just taking it as it comes and making sure I’m ready, and my mind and body are as fit as possible.”