In the two months since being knocked out of the National Boccia Championships at the group stage, Emma Goodchild’s reputation has rocketed.
Not only has she made her international debut in the European Championships, but she also enjoyed a successful tournament, which included an individual win over world number 18 Jakub Nagy.
The highlight, though, was picking up the BC1/2 mixed team gold medal alongside teammates Nigel Murray, David Smith, Martin Davis and Joshua Rowe.
Her success, she says, proves she can compete on the international stage.
“The European Championships were my first majors and my international debut for GB,” she said proudly.
“Contributing to the GB BC1/2 team’s first ever European Gold Medal was absolutely incredible.
“I will never forget the emotion that I felt being on that podium with my teammates.
“Individually, there were no expectations put on me by the coaches, I wasn’t expected to win a match.
“I went into my first game against Jakub Nagy of Slovakia knowing that he was a strong opponent.
“I emerged from this match triumphant, winning 3-1, which was the best feeling in the world!
“It wasn’t until later when one of the coaches told me that Nagy was ranked number 18 in the world that I realised what I had done!
“I’d shown that I could compete on the international stage.”
Goodchild eventually finished seventeenth in the tournament, but having had little reputation before competition began, the week could be classed as a huge success.
Now, as the Cheshire International approaches, the Loughborough University student is hoping to further build up her reputation.
The event, held at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan, takes place from July 27-28th.
There, she will compete alongside two of her fellow gold medal winning teammates from Portugal, Martin Davis and Nigel Murray.
And she’s confident of more success.
“Because of the experience of the European Championships, we have learned a lot about each other as players,” she continued.
“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we know how to support each other in the right way.
“We can take this strong team bond into Cheshire and be successful.
“Nigel gives so much to the team and his vast experience is invaluable, not just as a player but as a mentor.
“I find that I play some of my best boccia when he’s on the team because he knows exactly what to say to get me focused and relaxed.
“Martin has become one of my closest friends.
“At every camp, we have a day where we play matches against each other and get ranked accordingly.
“Back in April, we were playing each other in the 7th/8th play-off.
“Just last week, he came 2nd in the same format which shows just how much he has improved.
“We know what we need to do to win, and we have the confidence and belief to do so.
“If we are on form, there is no reason why we cannot win.”
For more information, visit https://bocciaengland.org.uk/events/