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Glencoe rugby supremo Helen Nelson has a new goal in sight, having served her country faithfully since being called into the Scottish Women’s 6 Nations squad in 2016.
The former Lochaber Rugby Football Club player has been included in a 19-strong training squad ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Rugby 7s tournament due to take place in July and August, a place at which she says would be ‘a dream come true’.
‘I grew up watching the Olympics and have been obsessed since I was a kid,’ she told the Lochaber Times.
No stranger to the abbreviated game, Helen led the Scottish squad in their HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series debut in Biarritz in 2019 and has played a key role in the national set-up.
This month she will join the Team GB camp at Loughborough University ahead of their pre-Olympic tournaments and the 2021 HSBC World Sevens Series, details of which have yet to be announced.
‘It’s a really good group and I can’t wait to start training and getting to know everyone a bit better, she added.
‘We don’t have long to prepare, but we are going to take advantage of every moment we have together as a squad.’
As with most sports, it’s been a bumpy road for women’s rugby since the pandemic began to sweep the country in March last year but the 26-year-old centre has been taking everything in her stride.
Helen was initially involved in the 2020 Six Nations with Scotland but as the games were cancelled and the country went into lockdown from March to July, she travelled back home to sit it out in Glencoe with her parents and sister.
‘During this time, I was really lucky as I managed to get hold of some weights,’ she added.
‘My dad and I built a squat rack so I could continue with some strength training. I also went for runs, walks and bike rides to keep active throughout lockdown.
‘I stayed local, exploring Glencoe’s trails and woods. As things started opening up, I enjoyed getting out into the hills and doing some Munros I hadn’t done before. I did the Aonach Eagach ridge with my family and loved spending time at home.’
Since the Premier 15s started in October, Helen has been plying her trade with top East Midlands outfit Loughborough Lightning.
‘It’s been great playing again,’ she said.
‘We’re in a really fortunate position as we are getting tested twice a week and have access to a world class training and playing environment.
‘The competition has been really competitive so far and the fight for the top four play-off spots is getting tighter each week. I feel like I’m improving and learning all the time and I am in a really good place.’
As well as training with Team GB, Helen is also preparing with the national squad to play in the 2021 Six Nations in April.