Emma Raducanu and Gareth Southgate show as a country, we’re getting it right for sport - Duncan Crow
Only a few weeks ago I wrote about our nation being a sporting superpower, so I didn’t think I’d have reason to write again so soon in a similar vein.
To add to Gareth Southgate’s England football team reaching their first major final since 1966, and the brilliant 4th place finish of Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics, we subsequently had Team Paralympic GB finish an incredible second place in Tokyo.
I had assumed our Paralympians were the crowning glory on an incredible British sporting year, but I was wrong. Saturday evening’s US Open Women’s Tennis Final was something so special, so inspiring, that I doubt I’ll see a British sporting achievement surpass it in the rest of my lifetime.
18 year-old Emma Raducanu has stunned the world by being the first ever tournament qualifier to win a tennis grand slam, doing so without losing a set in any round. A star has not just been born, a star has supernova’d. She became the first British woman’s champion at the US Open in 44 years.
While she may have made it look relatively easy, Emma’s achievement has of course taken years of sheer hard work, dedication and sacrifice, added to a natural talent. The key message that can be applied to all aspects of life is that great things are possible when you strive and work hard for them.
I must be among millions who have been greatly inspired by this 18 year-old girl who three months ago was sitting her A-levels. In the modern age in our mature democracy, such role models can motivate and inspire us, especially younger people, much more than any politician can.
Whether it’s sport, academics, employment, or personal development, I view it as the role of politicians to provide the framework, facilities and nurturing for everyone to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and then the rest is up to you.
As a country we’re getting it right for sport. It will be applying the same thinking both locally and nationally for other aspects of life that will enable people to truly thrive.