Talented Berkhamsted teenager Arabella Baylis is making great strides as a netballer, which has attracted the help of SportsAid’s Backing The Best programme.
The 15-year-old earned her maiden call-up for England’s under-17s squad last year and she has also starred for the age-group teams of Super League side Saracens Mavericks in Hatfield.
Arabella, who is a pupil at Berkhamsted School, said: “I joined a local club and before I knew it, I was trialling for Mavericks, and after that I was picked to play for England.
“It’s quite tricky to keep on top of everything while I’m at school, but my teachers and parents are really supportive and they make sure I have time to get everything done.
“This year has been my best so far. I was picked to play in the U19s Mavericks team and it was tough being so young, but now I feel I have really found my place in the side.
“I was picked for England U17s this year, which was a dream come true. It’s been an amazing experience.
“I really want to progress through the England squad and hopefully make the U19s squad in the next two years.
“I would love to be playing for the Roses one day. I really look up to Serena Guthrie.
“She is so athletic and great to watch. I want to win a Commonwealth gold like they did.”
Arabella is being helped by SportsAid and the Backing The Best programme, which offers financial help to talented young athletes who would otherwise face difficulties progressing in their sport.
It helps with essential costs such as travel, accommodation, kit, nutrition and medical bills.
Arabella is one of dozens of SportsAid athletes who attended workshops at The London Stadium recently, receiving media training, nutrition advice and performance guidance .
The youngsters were joined by rugby legend Maggie Alphonsi, triathlete John McAvoy and 1500m runner Jake Wightman.
The Backing The Best programme is managed by SportsAid for Sport England, and is supported by Lottery funding.