The Commonwealth Games is just the beginning for many athletes. For its latest campaign, The Start Line, Team England selected a handful of rising stars who came to the fore at Birmingham 2022.
The Start Line looks back on their moment of success, hearing first-hand how they felt in that moment and how they hope it can set them up for future success.
Team England handpicked rising stars who shone at the Commonwealth Games last summer, and one of these stars is Lily Walker, the 20-year-old player who made history as part of the first ever Team England hockey team to win gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Crediting Cannock Hockey Club for igniting her passion for the sport, Lily says: “My mum took me down and told me to give it a go. I was there from the age of six up until the age of 16, so I spent a good ten years of my life there and couldn’t been where I am without them.”
Reflecting on her experience at Birmingham 2022, she describes it as a surreal experience, admitting that she never anticipated being a part of the Commonwealth team, but it all fell into place seamlessly. Walker says: “Every single one of us knew what we could do. We knew we could do it in front of a home crowd who backed us all the way.”
As part of Team England’s hockey squad, Walker played a crucial role in securing the gold medal, marking the first hockey title in history for Team England.
She said: “It was one of the best feelings of my life, I really can’t put it into words, the feeling. It’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get back as it was in front of friends and family.”
Looking ahead to the future, Walker reflects on how her experience at Birmingham 2022 has set her up for greater achievements: ‘’I think I have many aspirations (post Birmingham 2022).
“One is to keep enjoying playing hockey and the sport and the other is to experience the next Commonwealth Games in Victoria.”