Megan’s busy year starts with the Hungarian Open

Megan Shackleton has an outside chance of competing in Rio
Megan Shackleton has an outside chance of competing in Rio

Todmorden’s Megan Shackleton is looking to start her 2015 international campaign with a good performance at the Hungarian Open, which runs from tomorrow until Sunday.

She then heads to Italy for the first factor 40 tournament of the season, the Lignano Master Open from March 19-21.

With next year’s Paralympic Games firmly on the horizon this is an important year for the 15-year-old and the rest of the GB team as the qualification period for Rio finishes at the end of 2015.

“I’ve had a good winter’s training,” she said. “I’ve been working on my fitness and making sure my stamina is good in matches which will hopefully help me this season.

“I’ve also been working with the team psychologist, making sure I’m mentally prepared for all my matches and the things I’ll be facing in different countries and different environments.”

Last year was a breakthrough year for Shackleton,. She won her first singles medal in Romania in June and then finished the season with two gold medals in the Cote d’Azur International in France.

“France has given me a lot of confidence for this year when the results are really going to matter,” she admitted.

“Last year I was able to put in some good performances and hopefully I can maintain that into the new season.”

This is also an important year for the Todmorden High School pupil as she will sit her GCSEs. She is keen to continue her education with perhaps a career in journalism in mind.

Still relatively inexperienced, Rio may come too soon for the GB Performance Squad’s youngest athlete. Her main focus is to improve her world ranking and be selected for the European Championships in Denmark in October.