Sophie nets a meeting with greatest Olympian
NETBALL London 2012 has already had a huge impact on Corsham netball coach Sophie Warner's sporting career – but she never expected the Games to lead her all the way to Britain's greatest-ever Olympian, writes Nathanael Saunders.
Despite netball not being part of the Olympic programme, Warner has seen interest at Corsham Town Junior Netball Club grow since the summer.
The Level 2 coach is keen to improve her standing and saw Gillette's 2012 Great Starts campaign – the programme working in partnership with Sports Coach UK to sponsor a significant number of coaching qualifications – as the perfect opportunity.
Recipients of this year's grants had the chance to celebrate at an event attended by ambassadors Sir Chris Hoy, the winner of six Olympic cycling gold medals, and swimmer Liam Tancock.
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"It's a big surprise to get the grant," said Warner, who is also a full-time mum.
"It's really nice to be on the receiving end because often with coaching you are giving all the time
"Since getting my Level 2 I've been trying to get more people involved and trying to get people to learn the game of netball. The grant means I'll be able to go to my Level 2 coaching and hopefully start coaching a team through a competitive process.
"The influence of the Olympics has been amazing – I have mums coming up to me on the school run and asking me if I'm still running the netball class, how they can get involved and all that."
Also in attendance at the ceremony in London were Loughborough swimming coach Ben Titley and British Cycling coach Shane Sutton.
"Spending the day with Sir Chris Hoy and Liam Tancock was really amazing but also seeing two coaches who have achieved so much is really inspiring," Warner added.
"They've shown me what you can achieve with a little bit of dedication and hard work, and I think that's going to help drive me on to achieve the most I can with my coaching in future."
The 2012 Gillette Great Starts campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications.