Hampshire Beach Volleyball athlete selected for 2018 Commonwealth Games
Our very own HTAS Athlete, Chris Gregory has been selected to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. His sport is Beach Volleyball, and in 6 months time he will head to the golden sands of Australia to represent Team England.
We had a chat with Chris about his journey to competing on the world stage and how Energise Me guided him along the way.
1. What has it taken to qualify for a place in Team England?
I began my sporting journey in 2008 after recruitment through UK Sports Talent ID program, ‘Sporting Giants’. Since starting in the sport there’s been many highs and lows on and off the court. We’ve faced many challenges as a team since pairing up after the London 2012 Olympics. For the past 5 years, we have competed in various competitions around the world to qualify for major championships.
The qualification period for the Commonwealths was the 2017 World and European Tour. Myself and teammate Jake Sheaf played 12 events, securing our place in the world rankings. Yet the work began a long time before this. Everything we have done up to this point has led us to our first Commonwealth Games. After years of hard work, we now have a place in Team England for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. It’s amazing to finally be here having qualified!
2. What is the HTAS scheme and how has the support from Energise Me been a part of that?
I had support on my journey from the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme (HTAS). The scheme funded by Hampshire County Council and managed by Energise Me supports local talented athletes. They recognise the barriers many athletes face in their bid to compete on the world stage.
HTAS has provided me with grants and non-financial support. We’ve faced many challenges, funding being at the forefront of the obstacles we’ve faced. Energise Me has been incredible. The financial support meant I could reach the tournaments we needed to compete in during each season. They’ve helped with my training in access to local facilities, networking, physiotherapy and sports science workshops. Each year the support from HTAS has been consistent to develop athletes. It makes me proud to associate with Energise Me as a Hampshire athlete and represent my county and my country.
3. How does it feel to be a part of Team England and why is it special?
Team England’s history in the Commonwealth Games is a prominent one and to become a part of that history is something special. Travelling over there as one team, and one nation, is a powerful and inspiring thing when it comes to being in the Games itself. The support and pride amongst Team England athletes is unique. This support will help spur on good performances when bearing the flag during competition.
4. What are your plans from now up until the Commonwealth Games?
Our preparation and planning began well before now.
Representing your country in your sport is a huge honour and takes a lot of dedication. The next step for us is a rigorous training phase, which includes many training camps in Europe and the USA. This means training in competitive environments, with high level international teams. We also have the FIVB World Tour tournaments in Holland, Czech Republic, USA, and the middle east before the Commonwealths start. This means we can get exposure to tough competition before the preliminary rounds of the Commonwealths start. The first training camp will be in Sweden, then we will start a longer camp in the USA in early February. The last phase for preparation is a two week camp in Australia with the rest of Team England.
Harry Stow from Energise Me said: “I am thrilled that Chris will be heading to the Gold Coast next year representing Team England. The scheme supported Chris for many years and Energise Me feels very pleased that it contributed to his development. We are proud to see him competing on the world stage. He’s an inspiring role model for our up and coming athletes.”
You can follow Chris’s journey by jumping over to his website
To find out more about HTAS have a chat with Harry or find out more here