Susannah Grace Townsend, a Canterbury, England and Great Britain attacking midfielder. Some would say a typical British girl, born in London with 3 brothers and 1 sister! This sibling rivalry is a big factor I put down to pushing me in all areas of my life, as everyone wants to beat their siblings! My twin brother Michael can take the most credit for this as we would challenge each other in absolutely everything…
To make things easier and to prevent another world war he went down the musical route and is a very talented musician. I obviously followed the sporting path!
From an early age I took part in every sport but I focused most of my attention on tennis. In schools in England we have great sporting opportunities where we we can try anything. I was fortunate enough to go to a great secondary school called Sutton Valence, this is where I picked up a hockey stick for the first time at the age of 13!
Decisions then had to be made and I decided to concentrate purely on hockey, my reasons were simple.. I wanted to be part of a team and I wanted to play a sport with my friends instead of being alone! Now I won’t bore you with how I improved but I will tell you that it took a lot of hard work!
Unfortunately I think we have a lot of talented youngsters in all sports all over the world, talent doesn’t make you a success though. There were a lot more talented players than me growing up but they all got ‘side tracked’ by life, therefore not succeeding with their chosen sport. Any successful athlete will tell you that they had to make sacrifices from an early age, although it is hard as a 16 year old to not see your friends as much or not go to a party the night before training it is a welcomed sacrifice you have to make. This is where a lot of children believe they can do both, in my opinion you can have a well managed balance but you can never cheat your way around professionalism and that starts from making decisions from when you are young.
There have been many ups and downs in my career but my upbringing and the people I surround myself with have always kept me focused and on track despite a few disappointments!
London 2012 is a prime example of this for me! It was incredible to be in a centralised training environment during this time with GB.
It was hard but we had a dream and we were working every day to achieve it. I missed out on selection for London but I couldn’t have been prouder to watch the girls secure a bronze medal! I won’t pretend it didn’t hurt watching but I was immensely proud and I still felt part of it because of the journey I had been on with the team. After London I took some time to continue to live out a bit of my travel bug, with some incredible holidays in Thailand, South Africa and various European extravaganzas! It was a fun 6 months that I needed as it made me come back for the Rio cycle with more focus than ever before!
I am very fortunate every day to be able to train in World Class facilities with my a special group of people who are all trying to achieve the same thing. It is about winning and being the best but so many memories are being created with this journey that we are going through together every day.
We have a busy 8 months coming up with Olympic qualification in Valencia in June with GB, I don’t need to remind anyone of how important that tournament is. Then in August we have the Europeans on home turf with England, London will put on another great show for this at Lee Valley!
So as much as everyone wants to read about my hockey career I also know some of you readers love the juicy facts too! I think of myself as a great water skier (although I haven’t done it for 7 years).. Still to me I am great! World class beach bat player, just ask Dirkie Chamberlain. I could drive from Canterbury to Tilburg and Paris backwards.. (Things you do for love). I have completely missed a flight home from South Africa.. So just bought a new ticket 4 days later.. (Typical behaviour). I am a massive West Ham fan and have been going since I was 4 with my father! I have green and white blood.. Playing for Canterbury Hockey Club does that you you! Ridiculously impulsive but not silly, my parents may disagree! Secret weapon are reported to be my eyes.. All rumours 🙂
So what is it about me that makes me tick??!? I love to smile and I love enjoying my life, when I am doing this I play my best hockey! I am very lucky to have met some incredible people from all over the world who at some point play a part in this adventure with me.
I am focused but I make sure I enjoy everything I do in life as we only get one shot at it so I intend to take it with both hands!