Shannon Archer is a young Scot who has successfully combined her sport with education – and her reward was winning a first all-round Scottish Championship at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth.
The 18-year-old started her secondary education at Broxburn Academy, but moved in her fourth year to the Glasgow School of Sport.
“I have extended my school time by an extra year and, when I leave in the summer, I want to take a year out to try to achieve my goal of a place in the Scottish team for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia,” said Shannon.
“The Glasgow School of Sport has been great for me. Sandra Stevenson is my coach, both at at Glasgow Gymnastics Club and at school. I get to spend lots of time in the gym.”
When she was younger, Shannon was in the GB squad and took part in the Olympic qualifying in Rio. Now the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast is the big push and winning her first National title was the perfect boost.
In the junior section, Ellie Russell staged a successful defence of the title. The 14-year-old Newbattle Community High pupil started her gym career as a four-year-old at Lasswade, is now a member of the West Lothian Club and trains five times a week.
“Winning this title twice in a row is definitely the best thing I have done so far,” said the Newtongrange teenager. “I want to take my gymnastics as far as possible, but I also want to do well at school. I love science and maybe want to study forensics.
Ellie is coached by Sandy Richardson, who was also proud of West Lothian’s bronze medallist, Laura-Jane Core (Deans Community High).
“I joined the club a year ago,” said the coach. “Ellie was a surprise winner of the junior championship last year. But, this time, she was there to be shot at and it was probably harder to defend the title.”
The next goal for all the gymmasts is success at the British Championships in Liverpool later this month.