CRICKLADE’S Laura Halford always knew she was likely to make the Wales squad for this summer’s Commonwealth Games but she was still able to feel a huge sense of pride after her selection was confirmed yesterday.
The young rhythmic gymnast stormed to success at the British Championships last month, winning the all-around title as well as three of the individual events, essentially securing her place in the Welsh squad for Glasgow.
An official announcement was made yesterday, although Halford was told of her inclusion a fortnight ago, meaning it’s now all systems go for the teenager.
“It was nice to have it all confirmed, although I did kind of assume I would be selected,” she said.
“I’m really proud to be selected and it’s really exciting because I’ve never been to a competition that big before, so it should be really special.
“I don’t really know what to expect but I’m really looking forward to performing in front of a really big audience and it’s nice so much of my family can come to watch because Glasgow is pretty much a home games.
“It’s nice to be able to have so much support, compared to if it was a bit further away, but it’s maybe a bit of a shame it isn’t any further away because it could have been somewhere like Australia or New Zealand. But it’s just Glasgow.
“I won’t be too worried about where we are when I’m competing though because I want to perform well.”
Next up for Halford is a training camp with the Welsh squad in Barcelona which the teenager, who is currently in the middle of sitting her A-Levels, believes will be hugely beneficial.
“We have a training camp coming up in Barcelona which will be really good, it’s not just the rhythmic section going but the entire gymnastics squad going so it will be really nice.
“After that I think it will be pretty much as usual with not too many changes.”
Halford also expressed her gratitude to Swindon-based gymnastics club Esprit, with whom she has trained since she was six.
“I’ve been at Esprit a long time and they’ve really helped me get better, so I’m really thankful for all the support they’ve given me over the years.
“Deb (Hows, coach) has put in so much time supporting me and helping me get better so it’s really nice to be able to say thank you.”