From Blue Toon to the Bahamas for Gridiron star Gary Elliot

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A Peterhead-born American Football player has been selected to represent Great Britain at the sport’s world championships in the Bahamas in September.

Gary Elliott and teammate Calum Young, who play for the Aberdeen Oilcats, will join the GB Lions flag football squad, which also features players from Scottish rivals as well as from teams across the UK.

Oilcats Head Coach, Mike Scott, will also be in Grand Bahama as the Team Manager for the GB Lions at the championships, organised by the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), which run from Wednesday, September 7 to Monday, September 12.

As well as playing in the Oilcats’ upcoming regional finals games on August 14, Gary and Calum will be training hard with their fellow GB teammates to prepare for both the high level of competition as well as the sweltering heat and humidity of the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, fellow Oilcat, Callum Stopani, has been selected for the GB Silver Lions development squad who will compete in international friendlies in Ireland later in the year.

Mike Scott said: “I am immensely proud of Gary and Calum making the GB squad and their selection is very well deserved – both are seasoned veterans of the game with Calum making his first GB appearance and Gary a long-standing member of the Lions squad – while Callum Stopani came extremely close to making the team and will be a fantastic addition to the Silver Lions.

“Two Oilcats making the GB squad and another coming very close proves just how good the talent on our team is right now. This will be a great experience for them and will in turn benefit the rest of the team as they bring this experience back with them.”

Players hoping to make the Great Britain squad and play in the Bahamas had to undergo a rigorous selection process which took place over a number of weekends this year with the final squad being selected following trials earlier this month.

Alan Young, head coach of the GB Lions, said: “I’ve been very encouraged by the level of talent on show throughout the selection process and the final selection featured some very difficult decisions. However, I am confident that we have an exciting, talented squad and can compete with the best at the World Championships.

“On behalf of the entire coaching staff, I would like to thank everyone who took part in the selection process and congratulate those who have been successful in securing a place in the squad.”

Flag football is a non-contact version of American Football where tackles are made by pulling a flag from a players’ belt rather than with full contact. It is therefore considered a safer version of the sport, with the adult league being open to anyone, male or female, aged 16 and above.