Glasgow 2014: Scots gymnast opts for nostalgia

SHE’S no’ very big and she’s awful shy but Lauren Brash is hoping to make a big impression in the Hydro today when she takes to the floor in the rhythmic gymnastics.

Scotlands rhythmic gymnasts, from left, Victoria Clow, Lauren Brash and Rebecca Bee perform in unison. Picture: Alistair Devine

The 15-year-old from Livingston is one of the youngest members of the Scotland team, but that didn’t stop her tapping into a bit of tartan nostalgia when it came to selecting the music to accompany her routine.

As her coach explains, Brash has opted for a tune that will have the home crowd on its feet.

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“I’m really looking forward to seeing her do her clubs routine because she’s picked Donald Where’s Your Troosers? by Andy Stewart as her music,” said Liz McNeill, coach of the West Lothian Rhythmic Gymnastics Club. “I think it’s her last piece on the day and we’ve been keeping it a secret because we wanted to surprise everyone. It should really get the crowd going.”

Scotlands rhythmic gymnasts, from left, Victoria Clow, Lauren Brash and Rebecca Bee perform in unison. Picture: Alistair Devine

Both coach and athlete had been keen for a piece of crowd-pleasing music but the suggestion to use Donald Where’s Your Troosers? actually came from south of the Border.

“The idea came from a former Commonwealth Games gymnast from England called Lisa Sands,” explains McNeill. “We were looking for a good Scottish tune to use and it was Lisa who suggested it. Lisa’s mum, Marion Sands, is coach to the Scottish team.”

Brash is part of a three-woman Scotland team taking part today, alongside Victoria Clow and Rebecca Bee. Clow has also picked a Scottish hit of yesteryear, opting for Lulu’s Shout to accompany her routine with the hoop.

The rhythmic gymnastics competition at the Games is made up of four apparatus events: hoop, ball, ribbon and clubs.

Grace under pressure is the key to success in an event which requires strength, dexterity and extraordinary flexibility.

Brash began her sporting life as a trampolinist but switched to gymnastics after seeing Clow perform at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

“When I was watching my team-mate Vicky in Delhi, that’s when I started to really want to be at the next Commonwealths,” said the teenager. “Probably a year later I realised I had a really good chance and I just kept working really hard, and it’s paid off.”

There are no shortcuts to success in a sport that is so physically demanding.

“She was a natural but you still have to work hard at it,” said McNeill, “because you need to develop the flexibility. She puts in a lot of hours, training up to five days a week.

“Lauren is totally enthusiastic and a very hard-working gymnast who is really motivated. She is one of the hardest-working gymnasts I have worked with and in addition she has real charisma. That matters because if you take the floor with good posture, as Lauren has, and smiling, it is so much better than looking down at your feet!”