A student at Leeds Trinity University is hoping to represent England at the 2019 Baton Twirling World Championships – and she's targeting a world title.
21-year-old Casey Hamill, from Sutton-at-Hone in Kent, passed her grading exams this weekend. She'll now compete at a regional competition in February – where she will need to place in all of her events, including Solo, Two Baton, and Dance – to qualify for the National Championships in April. She'll also attend team events with the aim of being selected for the England squad at the World Championships in France next August.
"I've been competing since I was seven years old, and I've been lucky enough to have a lot of success during my career," said Casey. "From winning my first competition and performing in the parade at Disneyland, to winning national titles and representing England at World Championships, I have learnt so many life lessons through this sport all of which have shaped me as a person. Baton Twirling has given me lifelong friendships that I will cherish forever, and the chance to travel the world competing in the sport I love."
It hasn't been an easy journey for Casey, who suffered a ruptured hamstring in 2015; tearing the muscle from the bone. She was told by doctors that she wouldn't be able to play sports again.
"I was out for two years, which took its toll on me mentally. However, I wasn't one to give in to injury and worked with the top physiotherapists and consultants to get me back into the competition game, I couldn't let this injury define me.
"After months of agony and training hours on end, I attended my first National Championships after injury in 2017. I went on to become a triple national champion."
Casey sites this as her greatest sporting achievement, and is now looking ahead to 2019 where she'd like to once again represent England at a World Championships. She choreographs her own routines alongside her former duet partner, who has since retired from the sport, and is in the process of completing a judge's course to become a nationally-qualified coach and judge.
She does all of this alongside a full-time job at Royal Mail as a Logistics Management Trainee. She's undertaking a Supply Chain Leadership Professional Degree Apprenticeship at Leeds Trinity as part of her Management Apprenticeship Scheme, and has received £250 from the University's Inspiring Futures Programme to support her training, entry fees and costumes.
Sarah Todd, Sports Development Manager at Leeds Trinity University, said: "We are delighted to support Casey with her ambition to represent England at the World Championships next year. We'll certainly be following her progress and looking forward to hearing more about her competitions over the next few months."
Leeds Trinity's Inspiring Futures Programme was launched in 2016 to support students competing at an elite level of sport, those who want to study abroad as part of their degree and recent graduates who want support in developing their own business. Since its launch, 25 students and graduates have benefited from the fund, receiving bursaries totalling more than £28,000.