Paralympic medal prospect Megan is promoted to the top group

Megan Shackleton pictured with Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill
Megan Shackleton pictured with Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill

Todmorden’s Megan Shackleton has been elevated to Great Britain’s elite squad after being identified as a potential Paralympic medal winner.

Fifteen-year-old wheelchair player Shackleton has been moved from the Pathway Squad to the Performance Squad, bringing the number of athletes in this group to 14.

Todmorden High School pupil Shackleton has made rapid progress since her international debut last October.

She was voted junior player of the tournament at this year’s BTTAD National Championships, having won the class 1-5 junior singles title.

She admitted that her promotion to the Performance Squad had come as a surprise.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Shackleton, a class four player. “I’ve always wanted to be in the Performance Squad as it is as high as you can go.

“It is great to know that the coaches believe in me and I’m now even more motivated than I was before.

“I’ve been given the best opportunity I could have and to train and compete regularly with the top players will help me a lot.”

Two additional places in the squad were made available as the result of the increase in funding to the GB Para Table Tennis Team from UK Sport.

The other place went to Burnley’s Felicity Pickard, 19.

It follows a successful 2013 for the team which included eight medals at the European Championships.

GB Performance Director Gorazd Vecko said: “Felicity and Megan have been chosen because of the progress they have made and because we believe they have the potential to be medal prospects in 2020.

“Their target is to try and qualify for Rio (2016)but if they continue to progress they will both have a big chance to take a medal in Tokyo.”