June was quite a month for West Lothian gymnast, Shannon Archer (12); with some excellent performances and a host of medals. “Being selected for the GB team for the first time was the highlight for me”, says Archer who made her debut against Sweden, where she helped the team to victory as the top scoring individual.
Shannon also competed at the British Espoir Championships, where she qualified for floor finals which will be contested in Liverpool at the British Championships from 8-10 July. Continuing her busy schedule, she then competed for Scotland in Madrid where she won gold medals on beam and floor; silver in the all-around, along with personal best scores in each event. Her incredible month culminated in another selection for GB where she helped the team to a 3rd place finish.
These incredible performances have seen her named as the Commonwealth Games Scotland Athlete of the Month for June, jointly with boxer Charlie Flynn. She will receive £250 from Commonwealth Games Scotland towards training and competition costs.
Congratulating the June winners, Commonweath Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “The Commonwealth Youth Games provide an invaluable development opportunity for our younger athletes, exposing them to a multi-sport environment and giving them their first experience of Team Scotland and its ethos. We have seen some fantastic performances since the selection period opened, and I would like to congratulate Shannon and Charlie for their achievements in June. I’d like to wish them the best of luck for the rest of the year and I hope to see them competing for Youth Team Scotland in the Isle of Man come September.”
Shannon first tried gymnastics at the age of four, and she hasn’t looked back. “It’s unique, compared to other sports”, says Shannon. “In other sports you don’t get the variety that gymnastics has with all of the different apparatus.” Women’s Artistic gymnasts compete across four pieces of apparatus – vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor – with high scoring performances in the ‘all around’ competition qualifying athletes for individual events. “The floor is definitely my favourite – I really enjoy the freedom it gives me, and it’s definitely where I perform best”, she says.
Like most young female gymnasts, Shannon aspires to emulate the success of her hero; current World and European champion Beth Tweddle. “She is amazing”, she says. “To have been so successful for so long is not that common in our sport, and she’s still going strong, which is amazing.”
With her sights firmly set on being selected for Youth Team Scotland’s gymnastics team for the Commonwealth Youth Games in September Shannon says: “It would be a great honour to be selected for the team. It’d be a great opportunity ahead of the 2014 Games too.”
The selection period for the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games is currently open, with Youth Team Scotland athletes set to be announced on 9 August.