A Midlothian artistic gymnast is head over heels with excitement after finding out she will part of Team Scotland for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Ellie Russell (15), a fourth-year pupil at Newbattle Community High School, received the news earlier this month after hammer thrower Rachel Hunter and road cyclist Andy Fenn were forced to withdraw from the multi-sport event.
She said: “I am so happy and shocked to be honest, after the disappointment of not being named when the team was originally announced and I can’t quite believe I’m going to the Games.”
The Newtongrange starlet will take her place on the team alongside nine other gymnasts after achieving qualification standard and being nominated for selection.
The talented teenager is part of the national performance programme, was the Scottish junior women’s all-around champion for the last two years and qualified for two apparatus finals in the same age category at last year’s British Championships.
Her stock continues to rise, winning gold on vault and silver on asymmetric bars and beam in her first time competing at senior level at the Scottish national artistic gymnastic championships earlier this month.
Ellie added: “I have just been concentrating on training for the Scottish and British championships instead and after doing really well last weekend at the Scottish, this news just tops it off. I’m really glad to be joining the other girls in the Gold Coast.
“The past year has included lots of training camps and working on routines, trying to perfect everything and make them the best they could be for the selection competitions. I’m just happy for me and my coach that all the hard work we’ve put in has paid off.”
Ellie’s coach is Sandy Richardson from West Lothian Artistic Gymnastics Club and she also has a mentor at school in maths teacher Emma Bruce who helps with co-ordinating her schooling and training schedule.
Gib McMillan, the head teacher at Newbattle, said of Ellie, “what an achievement for her, the school and Midlothian. She is brilliant, studious and personable.”