Darlington gymnast overcomes obstacles of global pandemic to win a gold medal

A 12-year-old gymnast from Darlington has gone above and beyond to make sure she could develop in her sport despite the pandemic.

Caitlin Petitjean was due to compete in her first global gymnastics contest in America, but a ban on international travel threatened to hold her back from reaching her dreams.

Instead of accepting defeat, Caitlin competed online, using a gymnastics beam in her bedroom, wowing the judges more than five thousand miles away.

Even through a computer screen, there was no denying that Caitlin was the clear winner. She walked away with a Gold medal for Showmanship.

Caitlin and little sister Maddie Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Cailtin's mum Allison says her daughter is 100% dedicated to progressing in the sport.

Every day she puts her alarm on for 5:30am before school. She does a workout, as soon as she comes in from school she does another workout, so it is self-motivation, dedication and she certainly has a huger to succeed.

Allison Petitjean, Caitlin's mum

With gymnastic clubs closed during lockdown, Caitlin has to be inventive about where she trains.

Her grandparents' back garden proved to be the ideal space to perfect her routines.

A hunger that appears to run in the family. Younger sister Madeleine is coached with Caitlin at Redcar gymnastics club.

She also scooped a UK medal during lockdown, adding more awards to the family's trophy cabinet.