A UNIVERSITY of Worcester graduate has told of her excitement as she prepares to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games next month.
Netballer Iona Christian will be playing for the Scottish Thistles in her first major senior international event.
“I’m proud, it’s an honour to be in the squad – one of 12 people to be picked by Scotland to go to a major championship – and to be part of a team of so many talented athletes,” said the 24-year-old. “I’m really excited and my parents and family will be excited to come and watch as they have been there for me for the whole journey. My dad will be there with his Scotland flag flying.”
Iona, who studied Illustration at Worcester, played for the University’s Vitality Netball Superleague franchise, Severn Stars, for three seasons and has, for the last few years, been playing for Coventry-based side Wasps Netball.
Since finishing her course in 2020, she now combines her elite netball with a freelance design and illustration business, which specialises in wedding stationery, that she set up in her final year at the University.
From now until the Games, Iona, of Sandbach, Cheshire, will be spending every weekend at training camps and playing friendly matches.
Iona said she was glad to find out she had made the team. “There’s always challenge for positions,” she said. “Training was very intense and everyone in the long squad was fighting for a place and it’s always nerve-wracking coming up to a selection.”
The mid-courter first represented Scotland last year. She was previously an England youth international and won a bronze medal at the Netball World Youth Cup team in 2018.
Scotland face a tough test in the opening stages with the likes of Australia, Jamaica and South Africa in their group, but Iona is looking forward to the challenge. “It will be really good to get experience against them,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to the Games,” she added. “I think it will be really special. I think it’s slightly different to a netball competition because you have other sports there so it’s great to have a chance to meet people from other sports. I’m looking forward to that around the athlete village. I’m also looking forward to going on court with the Thistles and putting into practise what we’ve been working on in the build-up.”