Costello excited for 'home' games in Birmingham

·3-min read
Amy Costello is excited to compete at her 'home from home' when she represents Scotland in Birmingham.
Amy Costello is excited to compete at her 'home from home' when she represents Scotland in Birmingham.

Hockey player Amy Costello is looking forward to competing at what became her ‘home from home’ when she represents Scotland at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The men’s and women’s competitions will be taking place at the hockey centre of the University of Birmingham, which is where Costello has just finished studying for a degree in Sports Science.

This will be the second time the 24-year-old from Edinburgh will compete in a Commonwealth Games, having previously been part of the Scotland team who finished seventh at Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018 and Costello can’t wait for the Games to start.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Costello, who will be staying in her old halls of residence during the Games and is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

“The Gold Coast was really special, obviously with it being my first Commonwealth Games, but I studied at Birmingham and I’ve just graduated this summer, so for me it’s almost like home from home, even though it’s down south.

“I think we’re in a really good place and we’re about to go into our prep camp, so the nerves and excitement are starting to build.

“There’s something that’s always special about playing for Scotland.”

At club level, Costello has played for University of Birmingham, Edinburgh University and for East Grinstead, one of the top teams in the Women’s England Hockey League.

She has also had the benefit of experiencing a different style of play in the year leading up to the Games, thanks to a spell playing for German club Uhlenhorster HC.

Costello said: “I played the first half of the season in Hamburg, which was amazing.

“It was so nice to go somewhere new, somewhere fresh and experience a new sort of culture of living while playing hockey.

“I really enjoyed the couple of months I had out there – the level was consistently high across all the squads and all the teams we played, which meant it was very competitive.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 250 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Costello is looking for medal success.

In order for Scotland to reach the semi-finals, they will have to upset one of Group B favourites Australia and New Zealand, with South Africa and Kenya their other opponents during the first round.

Looking further ahead, Costello’s goal is to represent Great Britain in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, having been a travelling reserve in Tokyo last year.

It turned out to be a watching brief for her, as not ultimately being required to play meant she did not qualify for a medal when the women’s team claimed bronze.

Costello said: “It was an amazing experience – bittersweet in some ways, going as a reserve was one of the more challenging experiences I’ve had.

“But I was also just so proud to be able to be there, experience what an Olympic Games is like and be on the pitch with the team when they won bronze.

“It’s always harder when you’re just focusing on being in it, but I think if you take a step back and have a look at the bigger picture, I think if you’d said to me when I was growing up ‘you’ll be at an Olympic Games,’ I think I would have jumped at the opportunity.”

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