An ex-Tonbridge Grammar School student is celebrating after being selected to represent Great Britain at the World University Games in Russia.
Heike Niemand, who left Tonbridge Grammar School in 2009, has been selected as part of Great Britain's women's rugby sevens squad at the games, which will be held in Kazan, Russia from 5 - 17 July 2013.
The 22-year-old student, a scrumhalf, who lives in Tonbridge and started playing rugby at the age of 13 said...
"I am very competitive and this opportunity to represent Great Britain at the World University Games means the world to me. It seems my hard work is finally starting to pay off and I'm being recognised for my passion, ability and potential.
Rugby is probably the thing I'm most proud of. It has given me confidence and strength to deal with tough challenges and rejection. It has also taught me valuable leadership, motivational and teamwork skills. But most of all, it has given me enjoyment, friendships, and a desire for success."
Speaking about the perception of women's rugby, Heike said:
"Women receive so much scrutiny and criticism for playing a 'man's sport' and I am determined to join the top players in this country to prove that we are just as athletic and skilled as any man. We may never be able to run quite as fast or lift quite as much weight, but we love and understand the game, and have the ability to analyse situations and invade our opponents' territory."