Brigg area judo star Emily Hickman hoping to make Great Britain squad
LINCOLNSHIRE judoka Emily Hickman believes her 22nd birthday has the potential to eclipse all others as she aims to make the Great Britain squad and prosper overseas.
The East Yorkshire Judo Academy star is currently juggling a final-year dissertation with training for the GB trials on January 20 – held 10 days before her special day.
And Hickman, who returned from an ankle injury in the summer to win both the Scottish and Great North open, is currently ranked fourth in the Under-52kg category by the British Judo Association.
But with the BJA still undecided as to the criteria needed for qualification, all the Coventry University student can do is ensure she is firmly in the selectors' minds.
"I am doing my best to make sure I am in that top four and I am definitely capable," said Hickman, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes scheme.
"After the Olympics there have been a lot of changes in GB judo and they are not sure if it will be the top four in the country from the rankings or the top four at the trials who will make up the squad.
"I just need to do anything I can to promote myself in front of the selectors.
"At the moment I'm in my final year and I have my dissertation to worry about so it has forced me to cut back on some of my training.
"My workload in the first semester is quite heavy but after Christmas it should calm down a bit.
"I hurt my ankle in Russia and I started back up again in September and came back to win gold in Scotland and Newcastle which gave me more points towards my GB ranking. It's good to know I can win these domestic events."
Hickman may have to put celebrations to one side until early February as she heads to Belgium, bidding to achieve her goal of winning a large international event.
And with the 2014 Commonwealth Games edging closer, the former Sir John Nelthorpe School pupil is hoping next year will be where she solidifies her status as a medal hope.
"The big goal is to medal abroad, because that is one of GB's criteria for selection for the big championships," said Hickman.
"I hope I can do that early next year or in the summer after university.
"At the end of January there is the Arlon Ladies Open in Belgium, which is one that everyone goes to but that will be a good test for me.
"I am looking towards the Commonwealth Games which is the next big one for me and obviously between now and then there are domestic tournaments but I want to start medalling abroad."
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain's most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes