BEAMING gymnast Melanie Evans has been selected to compete at international level, where she will be resplendent in the red of Wales.
Melanie, 13, of Aysgarth Drive, Accrington, is eligible to compete for Scotland, through her father, or England, but if all goes to plan she may just be standing to the Land of My Fathers with a gold medal around her neck at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi - all thanks to her Welsh grandfather Samuel.
Melanie qualifies for the Welsh through her grandfather Samuel and, although she is not committed to the country until registered in a full Commonwealth squad, she is looking forward to benefiting from the expert guidance of Tracey Skirton, coach of Welsh Gymnastics Wales and also of the current Great British squad.
The Hollins High School pupil, who first began at Accrington Gymnastics Club aged eight, has received her national tracksuit and leotard ahead of making her debut in the Celtic Cup gymnastics fixture on 24 and 25 February in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.
She is also due to compete against gymnasts from across northern Europe in another international fixture later this year, after impressing in recent competitions.
Among highlights were finishing third in September's North West championships and fourth in the 12-13 year old 'espoir' class at the British Challenge Cup in November.
Melanie's proud father Gordon said: "She's over the moon. She's still got a long way to go yet and injuries are the main worry for her. But representing the country is obviously a good experience and it's an opportunity for her to compete against higher gymnasts as well as being coached by top coaches."
He added that the recognition was also thanks to her dedication in the face of a gruelling schedule, and that of her coach Janet Mankowska.
As well as travelling a round trip of 65 miles from her home to Blackpool six times a week for training, Melanie also regularly joins up with the North West regional squad in Liverpool, and now faces racking up more miles to train in Cardiff.