I’d love to lead and inspire others on their Olympic journey….

Esme Burge. Age: 20. Sport: GB hockey player. Position: midfielder. University: University of Nottingham.

Who inspired you to take the first steps on the path that led you to becoming a hockey international?

My hockey coach, Lisa Sutcliffe, at Fairfield prep school made me believe that I had the potential to make it to the top level.  Watching the 2012 Olympics live in London also inspired me massively and it is a privilege to be playing alongside some of those players now

Who do you look to as a role model in life, and in sport?

My older sister Marcella.  She works in network marketing and has built a team of 3000 people so we couldn’t be more different in terms of what we do for a living but her drive and commitment is so inspiring. She has found her own passion and is one of the most fearless people I know and is always pushing to be the best in her field of work. I aspire to have these traits in my sporting life. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Getting to do what I love for a living – playing hockey and being with friends making memories 

The best piece of advice you have ever been given?

If you don’t love what you do it’s not worth doing it. 

Your crowning sporting achievement?

I have many highlights, from winning national titles with Repton school and Beeston Hockey club, to playing in the U21 Junior World cup in Chile at the age of 17, but, I have always had a dream of getting a cap at a senior level so I would have to say my first cap vs Germany in 2019 is my crowning achievement to date. It is a game I will remember forever and the highlight was assisting Izzy Petter’s first senior international goal (Izzy is now my housemate and one of closest friends in the team). 

What’s been your biggest challenge?

Balancing sporting commitments, studies, friends, family etc. I huge lesson for me over the past few years is that I sometimes have to put myself first and accept that I am not a normal 20-year-old girl. I have to make a lot of sacrifices but also make sure that I get the balance right between hard work and relaxation/time with friends and family.

Your three ideal dinner guests (living or dead)? 

Miranda Hart,  Ant Middleton,  Nelson Mandela 

What attracted you to Sportside? 

I have a passion for all sports and believe that it is essential to be active in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Every person should be able to participate in any sport they wish no matter their level of performance and Sportside offers an amazing platform to aid this. 

Guilty pleasure?

Reality TV shows  such as Made in Chelsea, Love Island.

What’s your next big goal?

Compete for GB at an Olympic games.  Currently,  I am in the squad of 26 working towards Tokyo. 18 players are picked to get on the plane. Selection is very tough but as such a young and new player into the team I’m trying to make the most of every opportunity and my aim is that I look back when the selection comes out and know that I couldn’t have done any more, even if my name isn’t on the list. If 2020 isn’t my time, I will build and aim to be a key player for 2024 and 2028. I’m trying to learn as much as I can from the experienced players around me so that in years to come I am the position where I can lead and inspire others on their Olympic journeys.