Teenager Grace Harrison is training hard to realise her ambition of representing the Isle of Man in gymnastics at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Here's a profile of an athlete who could be one of the youngest members of Team Isle of Man if she is selected for the Games which start in July 2014.
Name: Grace Elizabeth Harrison
Home town: Douglas
School: Currently taking a year out of school before attending Loughborough University in September 2014 to study Sports & Exercise Science. She is committed to working within the sporting industry once she has gained her degree.
Sports club: Manx Gymnastics Centre of Excellence
2012 IOM Ladies Champion, all around and on bars and floor.
2012 British Challenge Cup, all around, bars, beam and floor champion.
2013 British Team Championships - 9th on vault.
2013 Rushmoor Rose Bowl International - 10th overall and qualified for the vault final where she was 3rd.
2013 Northern European Championships - 11th overall, and qualified for the beam and floor finals where she finished 6th in both events.
In addition, Grace gained Commonwealth Games consideration scores in all of the above events. At the 2013 Island Games in Bermuda, she won 10 medals in total, 5 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze. Grace said: "Bermuda was a great experience. The locals there are very friendly, enthusiastic people and this added to an already great atmosphere."
Target events for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth
Grace said: "My targets are to qualify and compete in the team competition and to be able to contribute to the team score on all 4 apparatus. Individually, my aim is to qualify for the all around final and any apparatus finals. This type of opportunity doesn't come around very often and I'd like to take as much out of it as I can."
Aims for 2014
Grace says: "My aims are to compete well at all the designated Commonwealth Games qualification competitions, with the aim of gaining more consideration scores. I'd like to score a personal best on each of the 4 apparatus, with the aim of scoring an all around total of over 50. A further aim is to make the team for the Northern European Championships in Denmark, place in the top 10 all around and qualify for events finals. Aside from my sporting aims, as I will be starting university in 2014 I really want to make the most of my university experience and do well in my studies."
How does being on the Glasgow 2014 Support Programme
Grace said: "Since finishing school, the Support Programme has helped me enormously with the transition into full time training. I have utilised all the different services they have to offer and I am grateful for the ongoing advice and support given to me. Overall through this programme, I have been given the opportunity to be part of the wider sporting community in the Isle of Man. It has been inspiring to work with many different athletes from all different sports."
The Glasgow 2014 Support Programme is run by the Isle of Man Sport Institute and allows competitors chosen by the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association to receive expert advice and support. The support provided by the Sport Institute to the selected competitors is funded by the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association. Those selected for the programme can access a range of services from Sport Institute experts including physiotherapy, sports nutrition advice, sports psychology, sports massage, and strength and conditioning training. However, selection for the Glasgow 2014 Support Programme does not guarantee that they will be chosen to represent Team Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games.
What do the Commonwealth Games mean to
Grace says: "Having been born in the Isle of Man and lived here all my life, I would be proud to represent the Island at the highest level possible. This would be a great opportunity to give something back to the Island after all the help I have received throughout my years of training here. I think in terms of the competition, atmosphere and overall celebration of the Games, it will be an experience to remember forever."