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Rhythmic gymnastics: Brash having a ball

LAUREN Brash is getting goose bumps, and it's not simply from the brisk April breeze that whips around her leotard as she gamely poses outside the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Lauren Brash, centre, with team-mates and good friends Victoria Clow, left, and Rebecca Bee, braving the April weather at the SSE Hydro Photograph: StockPix.eu
Lauren Brash, centre, with team-mates and good friends Victoria Clow, left, and Rebecca Bee, braving the April weather at the SSE Hydro Photograph: StockPix.eu

This is the venue where the Livingston teenager will make her Commonwealth Games debut, after being named last week among a trio of rhythmic gymnasts selected to represent Team Scotland.

"It feels unbelievable," she says. "I can't even describe it. "It makes everything that I have trained for worth it.

"It has been nerve-racking waiting to hear if I had made the team. I have managed to stay focused on training, but it's such good news to finally find out."

At just 15, Brash is the youngest member of Team Scotland so far. A pupil at Deans Community High School in Livingston, West Lothian, she competed for Team GB at the 2012 European Junior Championships and 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

She has consistently impressed selectors over the past 12 months, claiming two silver medals - in ribbon and overall - and one bronze medal in ball at the 2013 British Championships.

Brash will be joined by Rebecca Bee and Victoria Clow to form Scotland's first rhythmic gymnastics team in 16 years.

The three of them, she says, share a strong camaraderie and friendship. "We have trained together for as long as I can remember," she says. "All of us get on so well. Each of us have our own strengths and obviously some members of the team are more experienced than others, but we support each other."

Brash has vivid memories of watching from her living room at home as the action in Delhi unfolded in 2010. Her Glasgow-born team-mate Clow competed, finishing 14th in the individual all-around final.

"I remember coming home from school at lunchtime to watch," she says. "I think I was late back afterwards because I was begging my mum to let me stay and watch more."

She grins broadly while recounting the moment she shared her own big news of being selected with her mother. "I sent her a text message as soon as I heard," she says. "She was so excited that when she replied some of the words were wrong. My mum then started phoning everyone in my family to tell them."

Brash has already had a taste of the electric SSE Hydro atmosphere having watched pop singer Bruno Mars perform in the same arena last autumn.

"That was quite cool," she says. "Hearing the crowd and thinking that is what it is going to be like for us when we step out to compete felt amazing."

It is her hope that the next 100 days until the opening ceremony at Celtic Park on July 23 will fly past.

"I can't wait," she says. "I'm looking forward to it all: getting the kit, staying in the village and getting to meet all the other athletes from different countries.

"I would love to meet the Canadian rhythmic gymnast Patricia Bezzoubenko, she seems really nice. It would be cool to bump into someone like Usain Bolt too.

"Because we are one of the first sports to compete, we should hopefully have lots of time afterwards to seek people out for photos and autographs."

The artistic gymnastics contingent for Glasgow 2014 is due to be announced in late May.

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