A Deeside netball star has recently been selected to represent her country in the World Youth Championships of the sport.
Emily Gray from Durris started playing netball at school at Robert Gordon’s College at the age of twelve.
She then played for Aberdeen district under 15 and under 17 sides. From the district tournaments she was selected for Scotland Under 17 and U19 squads.
Emily moved to Glasgow in 2010 for University and has since then been part of the Scottish under 21 Netball Squad, a member of the Scottish Institute of sport and also part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Long Squad.
Last week Emily was selected in the final twelve to represent Scotland at the World Youth Championships which will be held in Glasgow at the new Emirates Arena from 22-31 August.
Emily told the Piper: “The under 21 squad have been competing and training for this tournament for the past 3 years and i am honoured to have made the final cut and be given the opportunity to represent my country on the global stage. The tournament is at the New Commonwealth Arena and the Championships are being used as a test run for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next summer.
“I am very fortunate to have not only been selected for the Scottish Squad for the games but also as the face of the games. It is the weirdest thing seeing your own face on billboards next to David Beckham’s adverts! The event has been well publicised all over Glasgow on billboards, buses, subway and posters which is brilliant for the sport but i would love if there was some travelling support from my hometown of Aberdeen at this tournament also. The Scottish support is the best in the world and we need them to get behind our team for this event in August especially as it is in our home country.
“There are 20 countries competing at the World Youth Champs and I am so excited to be playing some of the best in the World - Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand, Malawi. It is incredible that this standard of netball is coming to Scotland and brilliant for the sport, there has never been an event of this scale for the sport in the UK before and it is a brilliant opportunity to come and watch and get involved in. Netball has grown massively in the last five years receiving more media attention than it ever has before, it is a fast dynamic and exciting game to watch.
She added that the squad was a “close group”: “The 2014 Commonwealth Games Squad is selected in September and that is the next stage but right now my main focus is the World Youth Championships. The under 21 Scottish netball team are the closest group of girls i have ever worked with, we are training up to 10 times a week at the minute and have all been best friends for the past 3 years. This could be our last tournament together which makes me even more determined to make this tournament successful and special which im sure it will be.
“I have travelled all over the world with netball, made the best friends but it did all start in Aberdeen and i will never forget my coaches and support from the North East of Scotland and it would be amazing to see some people making the journey to Glasgow to enjoy this event and sing the national anthem with us.
“I must make special to my Mum, Patricia Gray and also I & K Groundwater, a local business from Stonehaven. My mum has acted as taxi driver from Durris all over Scotland and been there for me in every way shape or form for the past five years and i wouldn’t have made this journey to represent my country at World Champs without her. I & K Groundwater have provided me with sponsorship which has allowed me to travel the length of the country week in week out, to train, buy kit and allowed me to pay the player contribution to compete in European Championships, Northern Nations Cup and other tournaments over the years. I am extremely grateful to them for this opportunity and support.
“The World Championships in August is a once in a lifetime opportunity for myself and it shows that with the right ambitions and drive any sporty girl from a small village like Durris can do it! To play in this tournament makes all the hours of training, sacrifice and balancing your life around netball worth it.”