Jul 18 2012

Part 1: North East Olympics 2012 Hopefuls – The Women

As the Olympics 2012 draws closer we take a look at The North East Olympian Women who have nothing but Gold in their sights!

Sarah Clark, 34, South Shields – Judo

We caught up with Sarah Clark, 34, before she headed of to the Olympics 2012, Sarah told us

“I am a full-time judo player in the Scottish, Team GB and Olympic squad and I am based in Edinburgh.  My aim is to be successful in the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

“My personal coach is Billy Cusack who has coached me for the last 16 years. I was born and grew up in South Shields in the North East of England.  I began judo at the Kodokwai Judo Club in South Shields aged nine, where I trained until I was 18, before moving to Scotland to train full-time at The Edinburgh Judo Club.  I am part of the current GB Olympic Squad based out of The JudoScotland National Training Centre at Ratho, near Edinburgh.”

“Throughout my judo career, I have won medals in many national and international competitions. My proudest moments as an elite athlete have been becoming European Champion in 2006 and also taking part in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. I have traveled all over the world for competitions and training camps and I have met the most wonderful people. I have remained friends with many”

“As the Olympic Games approach, I feel that the whole of GB are getting excited and are looking forward to what the Olympics will bring to this country. Sport unites people from all backgrounds, all ages and all abilities and I feel everyone can become involved in the Olympics in some way. For me, I have just been selected for my third Olympic Games. I am very optimistic as I am the athlete that has performed the best at this weight category over the last few months. I am in the best shape I have ever been in leading in to a major championships, both physically and mentally. My previous Olympic experience, I would like to think, will be a great advantage to me, along with the psychological benefits of a home Games. All the work has been done. These last eight weeks are now all about making sure I stay fit, injury free, remaining mentally positive and honing my judo skills. It’s all about stepping on to the judo mat on Monday 30th July, in London, knowing that I have done everything possible, to give me the best chance of winning!”
Image source:

Jill Scott, 25, Sunderland – Women’s Football

The first time I met Jill Scott was at a training session for Sunderland ladies football team years ago, it was quite apparent to me then she had the dominance and skills on the pitch to become the professional and local star she is today!

Jill, 25, born in Sunderland had her first England debut at only 19 during the 2006-07 season, coming on as a substitute to help her country to a 4-0 win over Holland. At the 2007 World Cup in China she featured in all four matches, scoring her first international goal (and what a cracker that was!), against Argentina, and she was named as The FA Players’ Player of the Year the following season.

At club level, Jill has won the 2008 FA Women’s Premier League Cup and the 2010 FA Women’s Cup with Everton.

Jill said

“At nine on Monday morning I took a call telling me I would be selected for the first Great Britain women’s football squad in Olympic history. I was sworn to secrecy until Tuesday when the news was made official – although I did tell my mum because I knew she wouldn’t tell anyone – and now I can say I’m over the moon to be part of Team GB. It is difficult to put into words to be honest. My focus has been on England, with two massive Euro 2013 qualifiers last week, but now they are out of the way we can all finally get excited about London 2012.”

“The added pressure is that our opening game against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium will actually be the first event of the whole Olympics, even before the opening ceremony. But having beaten them 2-1 at last year’s World Cup, a match in which I managed to score, we will be getting some good sessions in and aiming to get the win to kick-start our tournament.”

“With the Olympics being in London it’s a massive opportunity for women’s football to get the publicity it deserves and needs, but we all realise that comes from good performances so it will be one of our main aims.”

Great Britain head coach Hope Powell said she picked her squad on ability alone and said it was a tough decision. With the depth of players being so strong, any player on the shortlist of 35 could have made the squad.

Jill is well-known for her fun personality and her video diaries of her experiences with the England Team. We are hoping Jill will be making a few more with GB Team to keep us updated and entertained! Please Jill 🙂

 Info source and

Stephanie Houghton, 24, Durham – Women’s Football

Stephanie joins team-mate Jill Scott in the GB women’s football team. Steph is a talented and composed player with great versatility, she has made great strides with Sunderland in her younger years and that has seen her recognized at international level. She now plays her club football with Arsenal Ladies.

Stephanie said

“I felt sick before the call came through but it’s such a relief and I’m really happy. I’m sure the squad will gel quickly.”

“I’m delighted for scotty (Jill Scott) who has been involved in squads for a lot of years, It’s nice for the North East that there’s two girls from this neck of the woods playing. It sends out a good message.”
 Info source: Sunderland Echo and

Savannah Marshall, 21, Hartlepool – Women’s Boxing

Savannah Marshall is Britain’s first ever Women’s World Boxing Champion and won the title on her 21st birthday at the 2012 World Championships in Quinhuangdao, China with a tense 17-15 victory over Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan.

Savannah started boxing at 12 when she went along to the Hartlepool Headland club with a group of friends to try the sport out as a means of staying fit.  Despite their initial scepticism, the coaches were quick to recognise Savannah’s huge potential and as soon as she began to compete it became clear she was an enormous talent and racked-up a string of victories, often stopping her opponents.

To this day, Savannah has never lost a domestic contest.  She was invited to train with the England team as a 15 year-old and in 2009 she won the Senior Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) title at the first time of asking with a round one stoppage of Sian Hemming in only her second bout as a senior (over 18).

In 2011, Savannah delivered her first medal at 75kg winning bronze in the European Championships in Rotterdam and followed this up in spectacular style at the 2012 World Championships in China where she qualified for London and became Great Britain’s first ever female boxing World Champion (See how she did it in the video below)

A shy and quiet individual, Savannah likes to let her sport do the talking and has been affectionately christened the ‘Silent Assassin’ by some in the boxing press for her famed reluctance to be interviewed.  Born in Hartlepool, she attended English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College in Hartlepool where she secured 12 GCSEs and studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Sport at Hartlepool FE College which she passed with a distinction.

Info source: and

Kat Driscoll, 26, Houghton-le-Spring – Trampoline

The 26-year-old’s dream of competing in the home Olympics was realised when she was confirmed as the only British competitor in the trampoline.

Washington-based Driscoll, who rose to World No 1 in the women’s trampoline rankings after winning the 2011 World Cup series last year and ensured Team GB qualified for the Olympics by making the World Championship final, joined the rest of the gymnastics team as they were kitted out for the games at Loughborough yesterday.

kat was recently in action at the 2012 European Champions where her outstanding performance helped her team to win gold!

She her winning performance below.

The Apollo Trampolining Club member declared herself “proud, honoured and excited” after her selection was confirmed.

Info references and

Other Olympic Hopefuls

Aimee Wilmott (swimmer, from Middlesbrough)

Chantelle Handy (basketball player, from Consett)

Chloe Wilcox (Water Polo, Penrith, Cumbria)

 Jemma Lowe (swimmer, finalist Beijing 2008, from Hartlepool)

Jess Eddie (rower, competed Beijing 2008, from Durham)

Jo Jackson (race walker, from Marske)

Kat Copeland (rower, from Ingleby Barwick)

Laura Weightman (runner, 1500m, from Morpeth) 

Steph Proud (swimmer, backstroke, from Chester-le-Street) 


Please leave your best wishes to the Athletes below…


Coming Soon!

Part 2: North East Olympics 2012 hopefuls – The Men

Part 3: Olympics 2012 Results – How did the North East do?

Part 4: North East Paralympic 2012 hopefuls

If you would like to contribute to this post or any others please contact us



Photo references:
Other info references

2 pings

  1. Part 2: North East Olympics 2012 Hopefuls - The Men | The North East HUB

    […] See Part 1 – The Women […]

  2. Part 3: Olympics 2012 Results - How did the North East do? | The North East HUB

    […] Part 1 – The Women […]

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