A talented ball hockey player from Edge Hill University has been selected to represent Great Britain in next year’s World Championships.
Helen Briscoe, a learning facilitator at the University, will play defence in the Women’s Senior Team for the 2013 competition in Canada.
“I’m so proud to represent my country,” said the 36-year-old mother of two from Ormskirk. “I love the sport and I’ve been training hard so to be selected to play in the World Championships is a dream come true for me. It’s a real boost to my confidence, especially as I was up against fit players in their 20s.”
She added: “I also had the honour of playing in the 2011 tournament when the UK entered a team for the first time ever because it is a developing sport in this country. It was an amazing time for me. It’s a competitive sport, very physical and challenging but it really tested my fitness and it was incredible to be with so many talented athletes from around the world. Seeing how professional they were and comparing them to the level I was on helped me to learn and develop my skills, which I’m sure will help me at the 2013 event.”
Growing up in Whitley Bay and living next to an ice rink was the start of Helen’s fascination with ice hockey from the age of 14.
Marrying and having two children meant Helen had less time to concentrate on the game but about four years ago she realised how much she missed playing and signed up to a team in Blackburn. She then was introduced to ball hockey in 2010 and now trains regularly with Shaw Millionaires based in Manchester.
Despite juggling a young family and demanding job working with students who have additional learning requirements, Helen has achieved so much success in such a short space of time.
“It’s challenging fitting it all in,” she laughed. “But Edge Hill University has fantastic fitness facilities so I can train in my lunchtime, before or after work, which helps. My family are very supportive too and are looking forward to cheering me on.”
Talking about the selection process, UK Dek Hockey Performance Director and Team UK Head Coach Matt Darlow said: “Decisions were made hard by what I would say were performances across both teams that were at least 20% better than the standard in Bratislava in 2011. The women are a far fitter, better drilled and cohesive unit with threats in all areas from front to back and they can certainly provide upsets. As soon as I saw the fitness and speed differences it immediately influenced our strategy and the way we are going to play in Canada and it will make us a very different proposition to the Team UK of 2011.”
The players are completely self-funding their participation. Any companies or organisations interested in supporting Helen should email her on email@example.com.