14 November 2018

Loughborough College rugby star Jodie Ounsley has been named  2018 Young Deaf Sports Personality of the Year.

The 17 year old received her award at a glittering ceremony at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester at the weekend. “I was really honoured to have won. The award is for all those people who have helped me over the years from various sports. All that advice and support plays a big part in being successful.

“I felt extremely proud to be nominated. It was a fantastic event.

All the finalists were really successful people in their own sporting fields. I was happy just to be a finalist. When my name was read out my first thought was, I hope I don't trip up in these high heels! I very rarely get dressed up in a posh dress and heels, I'm more used to rugby boots and trainers. But in the moment I was so overwhelmed and just grateful to have so much support and cheers.

“I made it to the stage in one piece and had to do a little acceptance speech in front of all those people. It’s not something I'm comfortable with but it actually went all okay I think.”

The young player was part of the England team which earlier this year took the World Deaf Rugby 7s Championship title in Sydney, Australia. This year also saw Jodie make her debut for England U18s, socring a try against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and she helped Loughborough College’s Sport Academy women’s rugby squad to victory in the prestigious Rosslyn Park national championships.

Jodie was born profoundly deaf but a small processor worn above her ear for the cochlear implant fitted when she was 14 months is the only outward sign of a hearing problem.

In addition to her world class rugby performance, Jodie has also achieved outstanding international success in other sports. She competed for Great Britain in the 100m and 200m adult events at the 23rd Deaflympics in 2017 and is five times World Coal Champion and former British Champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Part of the high performance women’s rugby programme at Loughborough College for just over a year, Jodie has signed to the elite women’s Loughborough Lightning Team and plays in the Tyrell’s Premiership, one of the world’s leading domestic leagues.

In addition to representing England Under 18s Jodie is also part of the development programme in 15s and 7s. After being invited to trials with England U20s, she sustained a shoulder injury in the summer - but ensures she never misses a gym session.

“I'm currently rehabilitating, which is going well. I hope to be playing in the Tyrell's premiership as soon as possible. I'll continue to represent England rugby in age grade teams with the longer term aim of making a full time career in international rugby.”

For more information contact Elizabeth Udall, Communications Consultant, Loughborough College on 07515 852690 or elizabethudall1@gmail.com