A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student has been picked to represent her country at the upcoming U21 Netball Europe Tournament this weekend. 

Sarie Watkins, 18, will represent Wales U21 at the competition in Sheffield, where her side will play the likes of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland for the title in the three-day event at the English Institute of Sport. 

"I'm over the moon to have been selected to represent my country doing the sport I love the most," said Watkins.

"I think being with the girls and management team is something I always look forward to because they're all such great people, however I'm also looking forward to seeing what performances we can put out there as a team."

Shooter Sarie’s selection for the tournament follows her role in the senior Wales team’s successful Netball World Cup campaign over the summer in South Africa where they finished ninth.

Watkins, who is in the first year of her Physical Education and Sports Coaching degree, has also played for Wales at Under 17 level.

Since her arrival in Worcester, Wakins, of Blackwood, in Caerphilly, South Wales, has already done a trial for Severn Stars Netball Performance League Under 21 squad, part of the University of Worcester owned Severn Stars netball franchise, and recently joined Worcester Netball Club, where she is playing in their Premier League 2 team.

She also plays for the University of Worcester BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) first team.

"My mum also played netball for Wales, and so as soon as I was old enough to fully understand the game she took me straight to my first ever local netball club, and I loved it!" she added.

"I like netball because it's just such a great way to make life-long friends, who ultimately become like a second 'family' to you. The amount of opportunities it has given me is a key reason as to why I love netball, and most of those don't come around very often - which is why I'm beyond grateful for them!"

Building on her World Cup experience, Watkins hopes to compete in the World Youth Cup and the Commonwealth Games next.

She is receiving support and advice to combine elite training and competing with her studies from the University’s Sports Scholarship scheme.

"I'm still trying to figure out the right balance between my studies and elite sport, but so far the University and staff have been so helpful and really accommodating with my sporting needs," she said.

"Not only will the scholarship be a huge help with my finances as a student, but also the scholar staff are amazing and always there if needed which is such a relief, because it can get tough trying to find that 'work': life balance, and that's without mentioning elite sport!"