SPORTING star Lucie Leonard will captain Anglesey (Ynys Mon) in a prestigious new netball tournament.
The 21 year-old will lead the team against five other regions at the inaugural Invitational Island Games, to be hosted by the National Sports Centre, Isle of Man, from November 6-11.
Lucie, from Brynsiencyn, has the support of students and staff at St Gerard’s School in Bangor, where she was a pupil from the age of four to 18 years old.
The school sponsored her participation in the unique event, which will also be contested by Guernsey, Jersey, Orkney, Shetland, and the Isle of Man.
Currently studying for a Masters’ degree in Sports and Exercise Psychology at Loughborough University, she is confident the competition will be a big success and netball will eventually become part of the International Island Games.
“This is a pilot event with six islands taking part, so we are really proud to be a part of it,” said Lucie.
“Netball as a sport is growing all the time so it would be great to see it develop as part of the Island Games, and for more and more people to start playing it.”
Lucie, who is captain of the netball team at Loughborough for the second successive season, and a student ambassador, was a competitive swimmer before being struck by a serious shoulder injury.
She is very much focused on the enjoyment side of the upcoming tournament but knows that will change when they take to the court!
“To be named captain is a huge privilege for me, we can’t wait to get out there and are looking forward to taking on the other islands,” she said.
“There are 15 of us in the squad and we want to have fun while we’re there, but I’m sure we’ll be trying hard to win as we are all competitive and proud to represent Ynys Mon.”
Lucie added: “I am thankful to everyone back home for their support, especially St Gerard’s. Their kind donation will be put towards accommodation, travel, and kit, so it’s very much appreciated. I would also like to thank Anglesey Sea Zoo for sponsoring me as well.
“I loved my time at the school, and this shows how both past and current students will always be part of the fabric and community there.”
St Gerard’s Business Manager Steve Griffiths echoed those words, and said: “We are thrilled for Lucie, for her to be selected for the squad and to be named captain is a huge honour for her, and for the school.
“St Gerard’s is unique in that we are a high-achieving institution, but the priority will always be the care and support we show our pupils, those studying with us now or alumnus like Lucie.
“We wish her and the team the best of luck, it’s a brilliant opportunity for them and for Ynys Mon.”
The International Island Games takes place every two years and features more than 2,500 athletes from 24 regions, countries and counties, including Bermuda, Gibraltar, St Helena and the Cayman Islands, as well as the six taking part in next month’s invitational competition.
Isle of Man Netball Development Officer Claire Battye is “excited” to host this maiden tournament and said: “Alongside the women’s competition we are also creating opportunities for the development of umpires, technical officials, coaches and volunteers throughout the whole event for each of the islands.”
Pip Cross, President of Isle of Man Netball added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase inter-island netball. We passionately believe netball should be an integral part of the Island Games and available for selection by the host countries. We hope what the islands are putting on in November will be a stepping stone to achieve this.”