Sport: Rugby Union
How did you get into sport?
My career began when I responded to an advert in the local paper for female weightlifters to represent Sutton in the London Youth Games. As soon as I set foot in the gym, I finally realised that there was a reason I was built differently. My confidence soared, and I progressed quickly into the Great Britain junior and senior weightlifting squads, competing for three years at that level.
What has been the biggest challenge you have overcome?
Throughout my school-years I was always embarrassed by my size and strength. I struggled with my body image throughout my youth, and I really want to use my story to help students realise their own potential and open up their feelings.
What are your three biggest achievements in sport?
- World Cup Silver Medallist
- Four times Six Nations winner
- England ‘A’ Captain.
Who most inspired you and why?
When I was weightlifting at Crystal Palace National Sport Centre, we trained alongside members of the GB athletics squad and Judy Oakes was a very successful shot putt athlete at the time. She was the most single-minded athlete I have ever met and inspired me never to give up and never to expect anything worth achieving to be easy!
When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?
I began my role within the AM programme in 2009 and got involved to show young people who may be struggling with their own problems that it is precisely what is different about you that makes you so special. Sport is a powerful tool which can influence your life in so many positive ways. Being an Athlete Mentor for young people in the UK has been an incredible and privileged experience for me.
What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?
I have had so many amazing moments in my role, but the first time a teacher told me that a student had walked taller and become more confident after I had shared my athlete story was a stand-out moment for me.