Golborne’s rising netball star Rebekah Airey believes moving south to be closer to the national team’s training base could prove pivotal as she looks to secure her spot at next year’s Netball World Youth Cup.
Airey is part of England Netball’s full-time World Class training programme but used to commute to Loughborough on a regular basis from her home town – a 200-mile round trip.
But at the start of this month the 20-year-old moved to the Leicestershire town permanently as she looks to book her place at the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana in July.
Airey said: “I used to do over 25 hours a week of commuting so I now effectively have two days back – I have so much more time to myself – and it is being put to use by making sure I eat the right foods and things like that.
“Not having to sit in the car. the bus or train for however long gives me more recovery time and I can get there earlier and not worry about traffic and things like that.
“The closer I am to all the training facilities, the doctors and things like that, the better it will be for me with Botswana in mind. Being closer has had so many benefits for me.”
Airey was one of those selected to travel Down Under to take part in six games against Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, in August.
It was subsequently confirmed the Loughborough Lightning player had been retained in the Under-21 Long Squad ahead of the World Youth Cup, with the final group for Botswana almost certainly being selected from that pool in around six months’ time.
Airey, who benefits from part of the SSE Next Generation programme, said: “I can really focus on that bigger target of Botswana now because we are likely to be a part of the plans building to the competition unless something bad happens or someone amazing comes out of the woodwork.
“As long as I keep my head down and keep going forward then we should all remain in the long squad until close to Botswana.
“There are around 20 of us at the moment and they would take around 12 to 15 of us to Botswana. So there are not many of us to cut and it is quite difficult to know who is going to get cut.
“So the move to Loughborough could be really important when it comes to selection.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen