Beach soccer's Gemma Hillier has been selected as Team GB's athlete representative for tonight's Opening Ceremony at the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar.
Gosport born Hillier played for Portsmouth for 18 years and was the first female player in the UK to be nominated in a men’s hall of fame before falling in love with beach soccer. She is also the only player in the women’s beach soccer squad who has played in every single women’s beach soccer fixture.
Hillier said: “From first kicking a ball in the back garden at the age of six, to representing GB in the women’s beach soccer team at the first-ever World Beach Games, it has been an amazing 26 year journey. To now be selected to be the athlete representative for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony is the ultimate honour for me and my sport.”
Chef de Mission Caitlin McClatchey said: “Gemma embodies what it means to be part of Team GB. She has been a part of the Beach Soccer programme since the beginning and has dedicated her life to her sport. Gemma also scored Team GB’s first goal of the World Beach Games, which set the team up for fantastic win against Paraguay. I know Gemma will do the team proud at tonight’s Opening Ceremony”
Beach Soccer team Leader Perry Northeast said: “I’m really pleased that Gemma was selected to be the Athlete Representative for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of the World Beach Games. For the past seven years, Gemma has massively dedicated her life to the sport and this is an amazing way to reward such a committed athlete.”
The Opening Ceremony will begin at 5.30 BST (7.30pm local time) at the Katara Cultural Village Amphitheatre, officially marking the start of first ever ANOC World Beach Games.