Fenland sports star’s delight after call-up to England’s first women’s dodgeball team
A UNIVERSITY student from March has been called up to the first ever England Women’s Dodgeball team - just a year after she took up the sport.
Emily Stephenson, 19, played her first game of dodgeball for the University of Bedfordshire last year. She soon became a key part of the side, which won the University Championships and the UK Championships in the same staggering season.
The former Neale-Wade Community College pupil has now been picked as one of 14 squad members in the newly-established England Lions.
She is preparing to represent her country in the Home Nations Cup in Ireland next month and in the European Championships in Sweden in September.
Stephenson said: “It’s staggering that a sport I took up for a year at university could lead to representing my country. It’s crazy really.
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“When somebody suddenly tells you you’re going to be playing for England it’s a huge shock. I don’t think it will really sink in until I actually put the shirt on.
“It’s an honour to know that I will be part of the first ever women’s team and it was a proud moment when the letter telling me I’d made the squad came through the door.
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“I have always been into sport but I never thought that it would be through dodgeball that I’d make it.”
The talented teenager has impressed as a catcher and second thrower in the emerging six-a-side sport, which is played with three balls on an indoor court. Players try to eliminate opponents by hitting them with the ball or catching their throws.
First year sports student Stephenson, who can throw the ball at speeds of up to 50mph, also plays cricket for March and football for Wisbech St Mary.
She said: “All I have ever wanted to do is sport but I’ve never got any further than representing March or Wisbech. Now, all of a sudden, I’m an England player.”
Proud mum Elaine added: “It’s amazing. We have still never seen her play - I might have to watch a game now!”
• Stephenson is currently searching for sponsors to help her meet the costs of playing for her country. Anyone interested in sponsoring her should e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org