A student at Leeds Trinity University, who represented England at the 2019 Baton Twirling World Championships this month, has been ranked 11th in the world.
21-year-old Casey Hamill, from Sutton-at-Hone in Kent, finished eleventh in the Women's Two Baton event, despite tearing two ligaments at a national training session six weeks previously and competing with a spinal fluid leak.
"I wasn't really fit enough to compete," said Casey, "but it was something I had to do for my own piece of mind. I'd been training for this all year and I didn't want to give up, so I competed with my leg in a complete knee brace.
"I then found out after the competition that I'd been competing with a spinal fluid leak as well – which had occurred following a sinus infection prior to the tournament. I took an emergency flight home and spent five days in hospital."
When selected for the team in May, Casey commented that although a medal would be ideal, she'd be satisfied with a top ten finish at the world championships. On achieving her eleventh-place ranking, Casey said:
"People have been asking me if I'm disappointed because I really thought I might come home with a medal. But given what my body has been through, to finish eleventh, in the world, how can I not be happy with that?"
Now back in England, Casey will concentrate on recovery and her judge's course to become a nationally-qualified coach and judge. In October, she will return to Leeds Trinity University as an apprentice on the Supply Chain Leadership Professional Degree Apprenticeship, as part of her full-time job as a Logistics Management Trainee at Royal Mail.
She added: "I'm having knee surgery next week to repair the damage so Twirling will take a back seat whilst I recover, however, once healed, I don't think the Twirling world has seen the end of me just yet."
More than 1,200 women from 20 countries competed in the 2019 Baton Twirling World Championships in Limoges, France from 4 – 8 August with Casey's teammates, Katie Jackson and Melissa Bowling, finishing in top ten places.
Last year, Casey received £250 from Leeds Trinity University's Inspiring Futures Programme to support her training, entry fees and costumes.
Sarah Todd, Sports Development Manager at Leeds Trinity University, said: "Casey should be exceptionally proud of her achievements at the World Championships, especially with everything she's gone through before and since the tournament. Having a full-time job, studying for a degree and managing a career as an athlete is not an easy task, which is why we are committed to supporting Casey and other students like her at Leeds Trinity University."
Leeds Trinity's Inspiring Futures Programme Sporting Excellence Fund support students who compete at an elite level of sport alongside their studies. To find out more, visit www.leedstrinity.ac.uk/ifp.