With her first year of university coming to a close, Kew hockey player Holly Munro is looking forward to a busy international summer, with gold in her sights.
Munro, 18, previously played for league and cup champions Surbiton, but took to the pitch against her old club this season having moved to the University of Birmingham.
There, she is a member of one of the most talented young hockey sides in the country, with nine of the squad – including Munro herself – selected to go to the Junior World Cup in Chile, last winter.
At just 18 years old she was one of the youngest members of the squad, and the event came just a few months after she had won bronze at the European Championships with the under-18s.
She now has the under-21 Europeans to look forward to this year, but is currently having a break from hockey to focus on her first-year exams.
“At the moment it’s exam period so we’re grafting for fitness and getting stronger in the gym, to prepare for tournaments in the summer,” said Munro, who has been retained on the SSE Next Generation programme for her third year of sponsorship and support.
“We’ve got a hockey unload at the moment, but we’ve got a lot of test series against different countries in the summer, and then we’re looking to build for the U21 Europeans in Valencia in August and September.
“That is our main focus at the moment. Then we’ve got development training and a few GB development matches against a number of different countries, and I think we’re playing Surbiton in a couple of weeks.
“But it’s all building towards the Euros in the summer.”
Munro finished fourth in the Premier Division with her Birmingham side this season, as they qualified for the end-of-season play-offs for the second season in a row.
There, they were beaten by Munro’s old club Surbiton and she admitted it had been strange playing against old friends and colleagues this season.
“It was really weird playing against them, being on the other side of the pitch, so to speak. But it was also really nice,” she added.
“That club has got a really good hockey family environment. So after the match it was just like going and seeing my old mates again.
“It was strange, their standard of play is something that a lot of the clubs in the Prem can try and aspire to achieve because they are that good.”
And after her debut season at university, she is all the more grateful for the support from SSE, and is confident she has fully adapted to life away from home.
“It’s been tricky,” she revealed. “When you move to uni people underestimate how hard it is, especially as an international athlete.
“Trying to retain a bit of routine, creating a new one, is really challenging. But it’s been a really good challenge and the hockey has been great.
“And it’s an honour to be on the Next Generation programme again.
“I’ve been really lucky, I think it’s my third year on it and it really makes a difference when you’re at university and you’re less supported by your parents.”
Since 2013, SSE is proud to make a difference to young people, their families and their communities, by investing in the future of sporting talent through the SSE Next Generation scheme. Keep up to date @YourSSE.