While most 19-year olds will be finishing their A levels or preparing to start work or university, Izzy Petter will be training weekly with the Great Britain’s Women’s Hockey team, having just been offered a contract to play with them.
The forward from Cranleigh in Surrey, first began hockey at the age of five. She explained how ‘I joined the SBJ academy near to where I lived which was run by Steve Batchelor, the Olympic Gold medallist from the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. I also used to watch my mum play every Saturday as a toddler, so I was introduced to the sport at a very early age.’
Many young sports boys and girls can often feel torn when deciding which sport they wish to dedicate their time to, but Izzy described how ‘I pursued hockey because it was what I loved, and I looked forward to playing it. I had played tennis and swimming previously, but I loved the team element of hockey which meant that you could play with your friends. I also love how skilful hockey is and how there are so many different aspects to the sport.’
Izzy only made the transition from junior into senior this year, so she was required ‘to step up a lot. I had been playing adult club hockey for a while, but it was nothing compared to the step up to international standards. I was very nervous as I was playing amongst some of the people I had looked up to for years, especially as a junior athlete.’
At the age of just eighteen, Izzy impressed in her debut performance for Great Britain in the FIH Pro League match at Lee Valley Hockey Centre against Argentina.
‘I loved getting my first cap for GB. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. I had all of my family there which was very special for me as all of them have had a part to play in my journey. It was quite surreal playing with Olympic Gold medalists, especially as I had watched them win the Gold medal in Rio.’
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Since her debut performance, Izzy has trained with the Great Britain squad each week and has been offered a contract which she describes as ‘very exciting and totally unexpected.’
‘It has been a very exciting few months which included a two-week trip to Japan which was such a cool experience. I felt much more engrained in the squad having completed that trip’.
While Izzy might only be nineteen years of age, her talents reach far beyond her years. When asked what she hopes for her future hockey career, Izzy explains how ‘my hope is to play in an Olympic Games and to win a medal. But it is also to have a long and enjoyable career in hockey.’
She advises young people who wish to pursue a professional hockey career in the future to ‘work hard and push yourself the furthest that you can. You must practice the basic hockey skills to make them the best that they can be, and to use your skills to help you stand out from the crowd. Expect there to be ups and downs, but always enjoy the time you have playing hockey.’
It is easy to forget that Izzy is still in her teens.
Yet her proven track record marks her out as someone to watch very closely for the future.News Now - Sport News