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Grace Crompton: 'Magical Commonwealth Games experience'

One of Bears young stars, Grace Crompton, was representing Team England Rugby 7s at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

It was the winger’s first-time experiencing a multi-sport tournament. “It was a crazy experience. It all seems a bit of a blur now. “As a group we had been working towards the Games since January, so to finally run out in front of a home crowd was insane. It was such an honour to be able to do that, as it’s an once in a lifetime experience for everyone.”

At only 20-years old, the back has a very level head and described how the build-up and work done before running out in Coventry was as equally as important to the event itself.

“It wasn’t just the rugby played at the weekend which was a fantastic experience, but everything we’d done before then too; the training camps we went on, the months of preparation… that’s where it really counts and not just the result at the weekend." Not only a fantastic occasion for all involved at the arena, but also for everything happening behind the scenes at the athlete’s village. It was nice to have a familiar face there too.

“The Bears team manager, Tom Bedkowski, was there helping out. It was nice to have someone there that I knew. The athlete’s village was really cool. There was this massive food hall that had so many different cuisines. That first night I had spaghetti bolognese and spring rolls, which was really bizarre.

“There were loads of other cool things like a hair salon, nail parlour, there was a big entertainment/games room where the athletes could all mingle and socialise together.”

Despite not winning a medal, Crompton feels that there’s a lot the team can take away from the games heading into the Rugby World Cup 7s in Cape Town, South Africa from September 9-11th.

“It was a huge learning curve for everyone and we can build from it. I think it is so important to set goals, set dreams and to try and reach them. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t.

“Moving forward, I think it’s just finishing this season the best we possibly can and go into the World Cup feeling really confident. The team is getting closer, which has really helped. Team cohesion is as strong as it’s ever been.

“We’ve got a few weeks now until the World Cup and a few camps to get through. We want to perform as well as we, just keep pushing our standards as a team and hopefully finish the season on a high."

Crompton will be back in training with the Bears in October, an occasion she’s really looking forward to.

“I’m so looking forward to being back at the HPC. I’ve been on Instagram looking at all the training videos and interviews. I haven’t met any of the new people yet. There’re so many people I can’t wait to meet and so much I want to get stuck into.

“I’m excited to return to university too", she's about to start her final year at the University of Bath studying Sports Management and Coaching, "To see Dave Ward and all the coaches will be so nice as well. They’ve been really supportive; they’ve been cheering me on in the group chats.”

With the success of the Lionesses, the Commonwealth Games taking place and the Rugby World Cup coming up too, it’s been a fantastic year for women’s sports.

“It is cool to have so much happening within the same year. The Red Roses game against Wales at Ashton Gate is going to be a fantastic event too!

“It’s been great to see women’s sport finally get the time and attention it deserves. People of all age demographics are now tuning in and watching. It’s sport at the end of the day and doesn’t matter who’s playing it. It’s cool that people are starting to realise that.

“At the games, little boys would come up to us, little girls, older men, older women, everyone was coming up and asking for a photo. I’m just so grateful to be involved in women’s sport at this moment in time and grateful to be a part of this journey.”

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