Jodie Ounsley: The Complete Athelete
What does it mean to be a "complete athlete?" I had trouble defining the term but if I had to pick one person to personify the phrase it would be Jodie Ounsley, 17, from Dewsbury. Jodie excels in all sports she takes her hand to, a GB Sprinter, GB Brazilian Jiu jitsui champion and even takes part in a bit of coal-carrying in-between playing rugby for England U18s! I recently caught up with Jodie, and here's what we discussed:
1 You’ve competed in sprinting, rugby and coal carrying, but what is your favourite sport and why?
"I like lots of sports, as a kid I was the British champion at Brazilian Jiu jitsui a full contact grappling sport, so I do like a bit of rough and tumble. I think that's why I liked rugby so much. The coal carrying is something I've done since I was very young, I've won that 5 or 6 times now. I got into that because my dad used to do it.
I've always loved sprinting and always will, however if I'm realistic I think I'm a better rugby player than sprinter. Rugby is my main focus, I train twice most days and I'm determined to to do well in this sport".
2. What is your earliest rugby memory?
"It still makes me chuckle when I think of my first rugby memory, a mix of emotions. I was 15, I joined the club the week before the game. I took part in one training session. I had no real idea of the rules or where to stand. I knew I could run fast and wasn't afraid of contact. I turned up at the game as substitute. I was put out on the wing for the last few minutes of the game.
The first thing I did was trip up over my boot laces just jogging backwards. I hoped no one had noticed but they all did, I felt a bit embarrassed to say the least. It looked like the ball wasn't going to come my way, but then it just popped up in my hands on my own 22.
I set off on a weaving run around several players, got clear then just sprinted the length to score my first try. The final whistle went and I was immediately hooked.
3. How did your involvement in rugby develop since you debut at 15?
"Things moved pretty quickly from there, it's been a bit of a whirl wind for me. Within a couple of seasons I made the Yorkshire team, England north, England u18s TDG (15s and 7s). I started at Loughborough college last year on an AASE rugby program. I live there and train full time with the college team. level at Loughborough is very high and there are lots of great people to learn from.
I have also been training with the England women's deaf team (I'm profoundly deaf myself) . Aged 17 and 3 days I got RFU dispensation to play my first women's game for England deaf women. I scored a few tries and got the player of the game, it was a great experience. I'll be travelling to Sydney with them in a few weeks for the world deaf 7s. Championships. I can't wait".
4.How did you get into the deaflympics and what was your best experience during the games?
"I've always enjoyed athletics particularly sprinting. I competed at club and regional level. When I was 15 I qualified for the Deaflympics GB team for 100m and 200m. Fortunately I reached the minimum age of 16yrs by the time the games started in Samsun , Turkey. This was the first time I'd actually raced against women. All the big nations like Russia, USA and china were there. Being involved in such a big multi sport event was amazing. GB had about 100 athletes there and we shared the athletes village with lots of other nations.
For me the games were really a development exercise for the next games in 4 years time. It went better than expected and I made it through the qualifying rounds and semi-finals!
The whole experience is one I'll never forget".
5. If you could wish for one thing to happen in your sporting career, what would that be?
"I have lots of aims in my rugby, everything I do now is preparing myself to play for England women and represent GB at an Olympic Games in 7s rugby.
It's an exciting time to be involved in women's rugby, hopefully there will be lots of exciting opportunities in the coming years".
Thanks for taking the time out to speak to GRM! All the best with your playing career!
Witten by Shawn Boatin.