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Poppy Maskill named on shortlist for SportsAid’s One-To-Watch award

Para-swimmer Poppy Maskill has been selected as one of ten athletes on the shortlist to win SportsAid’s One-To-Watch award.

The 17-year-old is coming off an impressive year where she brought back a full set of medals from the World Para-Swimming Championships in Madeira, before competing at her home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Maskill, who trains with Alsager Swimming Club, has seen her impressive performances rewarded with a place on the shortlist which has been whittled down from 1,000 young athletes across 60 different sports.

On being nominated for the award, she said that it meant a lot to her to be recognised.

She said: “I was very surprised to be nominated, it means a lot.

“I’ve really enjoyed this year – my first World Championships was a great experience and it feels different to a normal swimming gala because there are so many different countries there. It feels bigger and I was really happy with my performance.

“Then it was really cool being in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.

“The crowds were so loud every night. I was excited but also very nervous. I learned that it doesn’t make a difference how many people are watching – you have to swim in the same way.”

A rising star

The rising star, from Middlewich, got her year off to an excellent start in February when she claimed her first major international title at the Citi Para Swimming World Series, winning the Women’s MC 100m Butterfly World Series Final in Aberdeen.

She then went on to make the squad and compete at her inaugural World Championships where she became a world champion as part of Great Britain’s Mixed S14 4x100m medley relay squad.

Maskill swam the opening leg, teaming up with Scott Quin, Reece Dunn and Bethany Firth to claim gold and enjoyed being part of a team.

She said: “I haven’t done any relay racing before and it feels different when you’re part of a team. You don’t want to let the team down.”

She also won two individual medals with silver in the S14 100m backstroke and S14 100m butterfly bronze in her first major international appearance.

To win silver, she finished just ahead of Jessica-Jane Applegate, Maskill’s inspiration within the sport who she was honoured to share the pool with.

Maskill sad: “I was quite shocked to beat Jessica-Jane, actually.

“She has always performed so well and won medals at the Paralympics. It’s really weird to be on a team with someone I’ve watched on TV so many times.

“I got the chance to speak to her and she was really nice – we both have dogs so we spoke about that, not swimming!”

The teenager then went on to compete at her home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where she finished 4th in S14 200m Freestyle.

Maskill is looking to join some esteemed company in winning the award that includes para-swimmer Ellie Challis (2019) and diver Tom Daley (2006).

An expert judging panel – which includes Sarah Winckless MBE (chair), former Chef De Mission for Commonwealth Games England, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ama Agbeze, six-time Paralympic champion Natasha Baker MBE, award-winning Olympic and Paralympic broadcaster Nick Hope and Joslyn Hoyte-Smith of the GB Olympians’ Association – will decide the winner.

The winner of the award will be revealed at SportsAid’s Celebrate the Next event, in London on Thursday 17 November.

To find out more you can visit the Sports Aid website here.

Full shortlist for SportsAid’s 2022 One-to-Watch award

  • Poppy Maskill, 17, from Middlewich – Para-swimming
  • Charlotte Jenman, 17, from Dartford – judo
  • Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker, 21, from Grays – ara athletics
  • Gabrielle Holland, 16, from East Grinstead – modern pentathlon
  • Jayda Pechová, 18, from Fleet – netball
  • Lucy Garlick, 15, from Carshalton – climbing
  • Marcus Chute, 18, from Datchet – rowing
  • Marfa Ekimova, 17, from Welling – rhythmic gymnastics
  • Mark Swan, 21, from Seaham – powerlifting
  • Yemi Mary John, 19, from Woodford – athletics