Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ellie Rayer: Why my hockey gumshield is akin to a second skin

Ellie Rayer’s journey in sports began at a tender age of seven, initially starting out with judo and rugby.

These early experiences instilled in her a balance between individual and team sports. As she grew older, her passion shifted towards hockey and athletics. Ellie’s dedication and talent saw her rise through the ranks of England Hockey’s single system, from county level to the HiPac. Recognizing the need for a more structured environment, she joined Maidenhead, her local club, on the recommendation of her PE teacher. This decision marked a turning point in her career.

Ellie’s progression was impressive. From representing England at the Under 16, Under 18, and through to the 21s and 23s, her prowess on the field was undeniable. In 2017, she received an invitation to trial for the senior squad. By January of that year, Ellie had become a full-time hockey player. Fast forward to 2023, and she remains a mainstay in the sport.

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Representing one’s country is a dream for many, and for Ellie, it was no different. She recalls the overwhelming emotion of playing for her country for the first time, a feeling that only intensified with every subsequent game. The milestones and the first cap speeches are moments she cherishes, where the realisation of playing once feels surreal, let alone a hundred times.

OPRO has been a constant companion for Ellie, even before her hockey days. Her initial experience with OPRO was during her rugby days, where she would purchase the brand’s gumshields from local shops. The significance of OPRO became even more pronounced when she joined the Under 16 squad. The professional gumshields, complete with the England Hockey logo, were not just protective gear but a symbol of pride.

The daily training sessions and the potential for injuries make OPRO’s gumshields indispensable. For Ellie, her gumshield is akin to a second skin, so much so that she always carries it in her hand luggage during travels.

Ellie’s dreams were not just limited to representing her country. From a young age, she aspired to be an Olympian. Her earliest Olympic memory dates back to 2004, watching Kelly Holmes clinch a medal. This dream became a reality in 2021, a moment made even more special with a medal to her name. The subsequent Birmingham games were a unique experience, with the thrill of playing in front of a home crowd and winning a historic gold medal.

Ellie’s journey is a testament to her dedication, talent, and the unwavering support of brands like OPRO. She often shares her experiences with young students, emphasizing the joy of doing what one loves every day. For Ellie, being an international hockey player is not just a profession but a privilege, one that she appreciates every single day.

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Valid until 30/09/23

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