As Commonwealth athletes prepare to battle at this summer's Games in Birmingham, a rising star of English rugby will be watching on, quietly taking notes ahead of the next chapter of her bright career, writes Tum Balogun.
Barnsley’s Evie Addy is one of over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff on the Team England Futures programme who have been given the opportunity to attend the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, watch live sporting action, and take a first-hand look behind-the-scenes.
The 18-year-old, whose talents saw her first invited to a national U18 camp at only 15-years-of-age, is eager to implement the lessons learnt at the showcase into her own regime.
“I’m excited to go to the Commonwealth Games,” she said after being one of only two players at her club put forward for the programme.
“That'll be really big - that’s kind of the biggest part of the program.”
“I’m excited to go and shadow athletes and see what they do at a big games like that and to see what differs for each athlete and how I can use that for myself.”
🦁 THE BIG INTERVIEW 🦁
"One of the best pieces of advice I was given in the early years was to ask questions. I was curious to learn." @LeonTaylorGB looks ahead to the #TeamEnglandFutures Immersion Camp in his role as Lead Ambassador and Mentor 🏴
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— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) July 8, 2022
The Yorkshire youngster has continued her speedy ascent up the ranks of English women’s rugby this year with an appearance at the inaugural Six Nations U18s Women’s Festival in the spring.
Coupled with her two years studying at the elite sports college Bishop Burton, Addy is on the cusp of breaking into the senior game and is relishing the experiences that have brought her to this point, soaking up each key takeaway to ensure her ongoing development.
Speaking of her recent junior international experience, she said: “It kind of taught me how to prepare from one game to the next in a tournament environment, how our process needs to be the same for every game, and how the training was mapped out with different intensities for each game.
“At college we did a little bit of that but it just goes into more. It was the best week ever and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”
Team England Futures programme seeks to better prepare athletes to deliver medal-winning performances as either Team England, Team GB or ParalympicsGB debutants at future Games, while also giving support staff a first-hand look at the opportunities they could be presented with, as well as challenges they may face, at a multi-sport competition.
The loosehead prop, who will be attending Hartpury University and taking to the field for Gloucester-Hartpury after the summer, shared her advice on how to get the most out of the sessions.
She added: “The information they give you can be so vital for your performance and make you better as a player.
“If you want to go the extra mile, you want to play professionally, you want to start doing this as a job - it's better off listening to the people who know what they’re doing.
“Just take in the information and see what works and doesn’t work for you to make you better.”
Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. You can find out more about the programme by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.