Owsley opts for the hockey field despite impressing on the track
LILY Owsley celebrated her 18th birthday recently and certainly seems to have the world at her feet – or should that be at the end of a stick?
That's because the future of this talented Bristol & West AC runner looks like being more away from the track and on the hockey pitch.
While Owsley, who won a silver medal in the senior girls' 800m at the English Schools' Championships in the summer, is among the best middle-distance runners of her age in the country, she is also blessed with huge talent in hockey.
That has been recognised by the Great Britain team management so Owsley has been selected to represent her country in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney from 16-20 January, 2013.
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To prepare for that tournament, which will see her spend three weeks Down Under, Owlsey is spending this week at a training camp in Malaga so it is little surprise that hockey is now her main focal point.
"I think hockey is now my number one sport, but having said that I still love athletics," said Owsley.
"Finishing second in the English Championships in the summer was brilliant but it was really hard to fit in athletics with hockey I have thought long and hard about it but I think my future lies with hockey."
Not that Owsley, who is in her final year at Clifton College, is turning her back on the sport. Far from it.
"I had an amazing summer this year and in 2013 I can do that again in my final year," added Owsley.
"Athletics has also been great for my fitness in hockey and also helping me to cope with pressure. In athletics you are on your own and have to cope with that whereas in hockey you have the team to help you so the sport has been a great help."
Coach Dave Taylor has over-seen Owlsey's progress and clearly has mixed feelings at seeing her opt for a future in hockey.
"There was a point just before the English Schools' when Lily almost chose athletics over hockey but it is one of those things and if her heart is somewhere else then you don't want an unhappy runner," said Taylor.
"I remember at the English Schools' she was exhausted so to win a silver was remarkable. There is no doubt she is an awesome athlete. But I would still like to think that she will return to athletics one day."