Fairbrother: Mum's the word

24 June 2012 / 14:16

Kelsi Fairbrother has thanked her mum for inspiring her to make the Olympic Games after she was named in the Great Britain women's handball squad.

Fairbrother is part of the first ever Team GB squad to compete at handball in the Games and her inclusion represents the end of a remarkable journey.

The winger was introduced to the sport by her mum Rena, who was in the England side when her daughter made her debut. Kelsi has gone on to be an integral player in the GB squad which harbours realistic hopes of making the quarter-finals in London this summer.

From sharing a court with her mother to potentially reaching the knockout stages of the Games is just one prominent example of how far Fairbrother and her GB team-mates have come in the last few years as handball continues to grow at pace in this country.

When she stepped out on court for her England debut, the 22-year-old never thought she would soon be at the Olympics and she puts it down to her mum's influence.

"I feel fantastic, it's six years of hard work aiming just for this," she said. "It has been totally worth it just to get here so I can't wait to get out there now. It was a great experience to play alongside my mum and I wanted to play because of her. I never imagined I would be here and it is down to her that I am."

Further evidence that GB have improved beyond all recognition is highlighted by the fact that several members of the squad had never played the game until they were thrown into a performance programme designed to build a team capable of competing at London 2012 six years ago.

And in those few short years they have gone from never having thrown a ball in anger to beating African champions Angola and running world champions Russia close.

"When we first started in 2006 we were playing against teams who were in the fourth and fifth division of the Danish league, we weren't playing against international sides," Fairbrother added. "In the last couple of months we have been competing with some of the best teams in the world.

"The journey has been really amazing but also rough sometimes, but I wouldn't change it for anything."