How did you get into sport?
I was always very active as a child and tried lots of different sports thanks to my parents taking me to lots of different clubs. I did gymnastics and dance from 5, judo from 6 and rugby and football from 8, as well as the usual school sports. I mostly excelled in rugby and judo and won my first national medal when I was 12. I started representing GB in judo at the age of 14 at Junior level and then at 20 at senior level and won many medals before retiring at 32.
What has been the biggest challenge you have overcome?
While I was coming up through the ranks as a teenager, judo was a fairly low-profile sport in the UK, so finding funding to support my ambitions was tough, but I persevered and put all my efforts into following my dream. Also, in 2003 an elbow dislocation threatened to end my hopes of competition at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens but I worked hard to qualify and put in a sound performance.
What are your three biggest achievements in sport?
- First girl to play rugby league at Wembley
- 2 x GB Judo Olympian and Commonwealth bronze medallist
- Double World JuJitsu Champion.
Who most inspired you and why?
My coach and mentor Brian through his constant hard work and selflessness.
When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?
When I was close to retirement in 2013 I saw the opportunity to become an Athlete Mentor was being offered at the YST. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to be able to give back through sharing some of my experiences as well as hopefully motivating and inspiring young people. I wanted to be able to put my skill sets to good use and was excited to be given the opportunity in an organisation whose values I could embrace.
What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?
My favourite moments are always when I am able to strike a chord with a young person and see them believing in their opportunities. I love seeing them grow in confidence and I am very privileged to be able to work alongside every one of them.