As Fara Williams prepares to put on the Arsenal shirt for the first time next month, we take a look at some of the female sporting stars who were born, have grown up or touched the hearts of those in south west London.
England’s most-capped female football player of all time, Fara Williams, recently returned to the capital to join Arsenal Ladies from FA Women’s Super League rivals Liverpool.
The 32-year-old central midfielder, who has represented England 148 times, grew up in Battersea and attended Shene School in Richmond.
Williams was an integral part of the national squad that finished third at last year’s World Cup and was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours list.
The former Liverpool player, who also had spells at Chelsea, Charlton and Merseyside rivals Everton, helped the Anfield giants win back-to-back FA Women’s Super League titles in 2013 and 2014.
FEMALE FOOTBALL IDOL: Fara Williams © FATV via Youtube, with thanks
The former British Number One was born in Australia before moving to Teddington from Singapore, and later to Wimbledon – just minutes from the infamous All England Club.
Robson burst onto our screens in 2008 when she became the first Briton to win the Wimbledon girls’ title since 1984 and the youngest champion since Martina Hingis at just 14-years-old.
The former Wimbledon junior champion made her senior Wimbledon debut at the age of 15 years and 152 days, losing out in the first round – just 10 days after her GCSE English exam.
Robson, alongside Andy Murray, went on to claim an Olympic Silver medal in the mixed doubles at London 2012 and she reached a career-high singles ranking of 27 in July 2013.
YOUNG STAR: Laura Robson © Wimbledon via Youtube, with thanks
Three-time European junior cross-country gold medalist, Steph Twell, is back on the world stage and has Rio in her sights after being forced to miss the London 2012 Olympics through injury.
Twickenham’s Twell became world junior 1,500m champion in 2008, becoming Britain’s first gold medalist at that distance since Steve Cram.
2010 saw the middle and long distance runner smash her personal best by 22 seconds and Yvonne Murray’s 15-year-old Scottish 5,000m record.
At the 2015 World Championships Twell reached the 5,000m final, but was unable to emulate her medal winning 2010 Commonwealth Games form which saw her take home bronze in the 1,500m race.
Her eye-catching performance in last month’s 4x1K International Relay at the Great Edinburgh XCountry suggests she is running towards Rio.
RIO HOPEFUL: Steph Twell © Eightlane.org via Youtube, with thanks
A member of Mitcham Athletics Club, the English former hurdler ran away with gold in the 100m hurdles at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The 1974 Commonwealth Games also saw Vernon win a silver medal for Great Britain in the 4x100m relay.
Vernon donned the Great Britain colours once again when she competed in the 1976 Munich Olympics in the 100m hurdles and in the 4x100m relay team which finished seventh in the final.
MITCHAM MEDALIST: Judy Vernon © Kevin Sibley via Youtube, with thanks
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