Army athlete shoots for dual career success


Commonwealth Games 2018 hopeful Fern Davies is ready to fight for netball glory this summer as Wales battle for Netball World Youth Cup success in Botswana.

The British Army recruit and Celtic Dragons star has a busy summer ahead as she juggles her career with top class sport.

But the chance to access TASS support has already enabled Davies to realise her international dream and meet the challenge of Army life head on.

“I can’t wait to go to Botswana and play against the best young players in the world,” she said. “That was one of my primary goals this season.

“It’s a stepping stone to the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s really exciting. We have such a young squad in Wales. There are a few 16 and 17-year-olds coming through who look like fantastic prospects. Some of them are starting to make their mark in Superleague.

“And the more of those players who can begin to make an impact in the Superleague the better – it will only improve us a nation.”

Davies comes up against fellow TASS athlete and England star Chiara Semple in the pool stages of next month’s World Youth Cup.

And after the pair enjoyed two pulsating Superleague scraps earlier this year the Welsh goal keeper is expecting another titanic tussle against Team Northumbria’s sharp shooter.

“Playing against Chi is always a challenge,” she added. “Because she’s from New Zealand it’s a different style of play to what we’re used to in Wales.

“She’s tough, she’s strong and her shooting accuracy is incredible.”

Davies receives her TASS funding through a groundbreaking partnership with The British Army. Launched last year, the link-up supports the current Army Elite Sports Programme (AESP) in its aim to produce Olympic stars of the future.

More than 30 talented Army athletes receive help from TASS, through access to tailored services such as psychology, strength and conditioning and lifestyle advice.

The services can be accessed at TASS Delivery Sites, close to major Army garrisons and unit locations, giving athletes the opportunity to achieve the very best from their sporting ability whilst maintaining a balance with their Army careers.

This collaborative venture aims to uncover and develop more medal-winning British Olympians from within the Army’s ranks for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

And the initiative has the backing of Double Olympic Rowing Champion – and former TASS athlete – Major Heather Stanning.

“I’m working for the Army in the Cardiff careers office helping with recruitment,” added Davies. “Knowing that the TASS support is there while I combine that role with playing for the Celtic Dragons and Wales is a weight off my mind.

“I know how much TASS can benefit young athletes in terms of mental and physical support and access to facilities and experts.

“When you’re working or studying or – in my case – in the Army it can be difficult to do these things yourself whether that’s to do with time or money. TASS keeps a lot of young athletes on an even keel.”