Commonwealth Games Scotland has today announced that the Commonwealth Games Federation has granted Team Scotland’s gymnastics squad further places for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham whilst an additional athlete has also been selected for wrestling.
Cara Kennedy, Eilidh Gorrell and Emily Bremner will compete in artistic gymnastics, taking the total number of Team Scotland gymnasts in the West Midlands later this month to ten. Wrestler Kieran Malone has been selected to compete in the 86kg category, taking that squad to six.
Birmingham will be Cara’s third Games, with the Paisley gymnast making all-around and vault finals at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and playing a key part in securing the team’s fifth place finish in her hometown in 2014.
Talking about her selection, Cara said, “It is really good to be selected for Team Scotland for a third time and I am really looking forward to the Games in Birmingham. The last four years have been really challenging for me with injury and Covid disrupting training, and I didn’t know if I was going to make the selection standards.”
After a tough few years, making the Scottish team for Birmingham 2022 and a third Games has been a big focus for the City of Glasgow gymnast, “It was sheer determination that made me think, ‘you’ve got more to give’. I had personal targets I wanted to achieve and if I could achieve them, then another Games was not out of the question. I’ve become a role model as I’ve got older, showing young gymnasts you can keep going past the age of 16 and do not have to stop.”
Fellow gymnast Emily Bremner has also had injury challenges over the last few years, but the Dundee-based gymnast fought back to fitness at the end of 2021 when she became the first home-based Scottish Women’s Artistic Gymnast to win the title of All Around Champion at the Northern European Championships in November.
Talking about her selection for her first Commonwealth Games in front of a packed Birmingham crowd, Emily said, “I am so happy! When Sam (Hendrikson, head of performance) phoned me and asked if I was ready to go to Birmingham, I said yes! It was a nice surprise as I was becoming less hopeful as time went on.
“It has been a dream for so long to be part of Team Scotland. Sam was in the gym when I was 12 or 13 and she asked me what I wanted to do and I said go to the Commonwealth Games. I watched the 2014 Games in Glasgow. It was so exciting, and it was after that I decided this is what I want to do.
“My family are super supportive and so happy. My mum, dad and little sister have been on the journey emotionally with me over the years and it’s paid off for them too. They’ve got tickets through the ballot so they will be in Birmingham watching me live.”
Eilidh Gorrell from Glasgow will join Cara and Emily in the artistic competition. Talking of her selection Eilidh said, “I feel amazing, I’m so happy. At first I was in shock and almost didn’t believe it. It is starting to sink in now. My mum and dad are so happy for me and they can’t believe either. The Commonwealth Games have been a big goal of mine since I started to get better in gymnastics when I was around 10 or 11. I am so excited for the Games. I just want to enjoy and embrace the experience and use this as a good start to my career.”
From the sprung floor to the wrestling mat, for Glasgow-based wrestler Kieran Malone being selected for his first Commonwealth Games is a dream come true. Kieran, who has competed in countless national and international competitions is current Scottish champion and UK Home Nations and English medallist in the 86kg category.
Commenting on his selection he said, “It’s a privilege to represent Scotland in Birmingham. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to compete for Scotland at the Games, since I went to watch the Manchester Games in 2002 as a young kid. I’m really looking forward to showcasing my skills.”
Speaking about Cara, Eilidh, Emily and Kieran’s selections, Team Scotland Chef de Mission Elinor Middlemiss said: “I am really pleased that Cara, Emily, Eilidh and Kieran have secured their spots at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
“It is always a welcome surprise when we are offered additional places to the Games by the Commonwealth Games Federation. Selection processes are tough on athletes, especially on those who narrowly miss out. Being able to expand our team and make further selections is always a nice feeling and I am delighted for all the athletes involved. I am looking forward to watching them compete this summer.”
Team Scotland has also confirmed today that Hazel MacLeod has been selected to guide Alison Peasgood in the Para Triathlon. Originally from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Hazel now lives in Edinburgh.
A former Scottish national age group swimming champion and rower for Durham University, Hazel was selected as a reserve for the Scottish Commonwealth Games Triathlon Team in 2014.
At Rio 2016 she made her Paralympic debut as a guide for Alison, with the pair winning silver in the women’s PT5 event. Hazel was guide for Melissa Reid at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the duo finished in seventh place.