The Celtic Cup and the all important Commonwealth Invitationals took place recently in Perth .
As explained in my last blog, the latter was vital for any gymnasts still needing to prove themselves as this was the last chance for both Scottish and Commonwealth gymnasts to try and impress the selection bodies, and gain the qualifying scores required to make their country's team this summer in Glasgow.
This made for such an exciting, hotly contested competition and our compatriots did not let us down with both the Scottish Men's and Women's teams producing equally strong performances to win double gold in the team event, as well as an array of other medals.
As other Commonwealth countries were there too, it was also a great opportunity for our guys to check out the form and start values (will explain about scoring system in later blogs) of their potential rivals so they know what they are going up against.
The Women who formed the Gold medal winning team on the day consisted of Emma White, Erin McLachlan , Carly Smith (City of Glasgow GC), Beth McKellar (West Lothian Artistic GC) and Kirsty Campbell (Dundee GC2K). The team delivered a number of strong consistent routines resulting in Scotland finishing with four gymnasts in the top five placings, a fantastic achievement.
These girls are names to keep your eye on.
Not to be outdone, Scotland's Men's Artistic team, Daniel Iley, Adam Cox (City of Glasgow GC), Liam Davie (City of Glasgow GC), Douglas Ross (City of Glasgow GC) and Ryan McKee (City of Glasgow GC), also took home team gold after delivering a number of impressive routines. I talked about Adam in the last blog as he has been struggling a bit this season after coming out of retirement to try and win medals for Scotland in front of a home crowd. However, he had a decent competition on the day and took bronze on floor. It will be touch and go for Adam as to whether he has done enough. Dan Iley was extremely impressive, taking Individual Gold (the highest accolade in any Artistic Gymnastics competition). He was rock solid and consistent across all six pieces of apparatus. If he is chosen to represent our country, this consistency is imperative from a team and individual perspective. If he can perform out of his skin, like he did at the weekend, he will be a good bet to medal at the Hydro in July. Definitely another one for us all to keep an eye on.
The Team Scotland Artistic gymnasts will be officially announced at the end of May but, on the Tuesday after this, Scottish Gymnastics were making their final decisions so as we speak, they know! I was coaching last night and there was much chat about the long awaited final Team Scotland line up for the Artistic Gymnastics amongst coaches and gymnasts. The thing is that our 'high heid yin' coach and his wife will have a very good idea of who's in and who's not but they were keeping their opinions to themselves, lips sealed stuff. I did try bribery and corruption to find out for us ahead of the announcement end May but to no avail! We'll just have to wait to see...watch this space.
At the start of this blog, I said there has been quite a bit going on. Running alongside the invitationals was the 2014 Artistic Celtic Cup where Scotland's competed against Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Isle of Man to be crowned Champions of the Celts. This is a junior competition (aged under 15) which gave us the chance to see what our next generation of Gymnasts are looking like as we look beyond 2014 (yes, I have heard that there is life after 2014...it seems that it is all anyone is talking about at the moment!). If you want to read more about our up and coming talent, go to here
Something else that I thought was interesting is that on April 29, Scotland's next generation of Commonwealth Games Gymnasts and Coaches were unveiled as part of an exclusive Sports programme, 'Achieve 2014'. The chosen team will mentor promising young athletes, using the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as a learning experience and a springboard to help our emerging talent, preparing them for upcoming Commonwealth Youth Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast. All key to the future development of Gymnastics and medals for Scotland.
Last thought to leave you with, in future blogs, I am keen to find out more about the coaches and gymnasts across Scotland at the grassroots level and the heart of our sport across Scotland. I'm interested in hearing from anyone involved at any level and with any discipline within gymnastics in Scotland. I'd love to hear about you, your club and what your thoughts are in the run up to the Games. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org