After a year where events were postponed and rescheduled, 2021 brings with it the hope of an action-packed 12 months ahead.
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games will grace our screens in the summer, but there’s also the spectacles of the Women’s Six Nations and the Solheim Cup, as well as the remainder of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.
With so much to look forward to, Nicola Kenton names ten British females to keep a look out for in the new year.
Freya Anderson (Swimming)
After an excellent end to 2019 with double gold at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow, Anderson looked to be one of Britain’s brightest hopes at the Tokyo Olympics.
Despite that competition being postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic, Anderson once again showed her improvement during this year’s International Swimming League.
The London Roar swimmer proved crucial to her team in the relay events, as well as the 100m and 200m freestyle, breaking the British record for the latter several times in the competition.
Earlier in the year, Anderson moved from Ellesmere to Bath’s National Training Centre and after settling in to the new regime, the 19-year-old will now have a few extra months of preparation ahead of Tokyo.
Sky Brown (Skateboarding)
Skateboarding will make its long-awaited debut at the Olympic Games when Tokyo rolls around in the summer.
In 2019, Brown secured a bronze medal at the Park Skateboarding World Championships in Sao Paulo and proved her prowess.
However, earlier this year Brown had a horrific fall where she suffered several skull fractures and a broken left wrist and hand.
Despite this, she is determined to continue her Olympic journey and all eyes will be on Brown to see what she can do.
Hannah Cockroft (Para-athletics)
After initially struggling with the postponement of the Paralympic Games, Cockroft returned to the track over the summer in blistering form.
The five-time Paralympic gold medallist competed at the British Wheelchair Athletic Association Grand Prix in Stoke Mandeville.
The Yorkshire T34 star lowered four world records in four days with new bests set in the 800m, 400m, 200m and 100m events.
Due to the event not being sanctioned by ParaAthletics, the times have not been recorded as world records but Cockroft will be hoping to repeat the performance this year.
16.71 100m (16.77 current WR)
30.06 200m (30.51 current WR)
55.98 400m (57.48 current WR)
1.49.85 800m (1.55.73 current WR)
In a year where I’ve barely touched a track or a gym, imagine what we can do now we’re back 🤯💪 pic.twitter.com/RgAAjeBJQQ
— Hannah Cockroft MBE, DL (@HCDream2012) September 12, 2020
Jade Jones (Taekwondo)
One star who loves an Olympic year is Jones. She was thrown into the limelight at the age of 19 after she clinched gold at London 2012.
And the Welsh fighter repeated that feat when she triumphed on the biggest stage once again at Rio 2016.
Jones was crowned World Champion in front of a home crowd in Manchester last year and recently, she struck gold again this time at the European Championships.
With another Olympic Games on the horizon, Jones will have another defence of her Olympic crown at the front of her mind.
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (Sailing)
A dynamic duo who have already qualified for the Tokyo Games are sailors Mills and McIntyre.
Mills will be returning to the Olympic waters as reigning champion after securing gold alongside Saskia Clark in 2016.
But with McIntyre by her side, the pair have already built a gold medal-winning partnership after they clinched the Women’s 470 world crown last year.
Retirement was something Mills considered but the lure of the Olympics was just too much.
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (Diving)
The start of 2020 was somewhat of a breakthrough for 16-year-old Spendolini-Sirieix.
She claimed her first senior title winning gold in the 10m platform at the British Championships and followed that up her first solo international gold medal at the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Rostock.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have curtailed her progress for the rest of the season, but the Crystal Palace diver received plenty of acclaim.
Ending the year on a high, Spendolini-Sirieix won the BBC Young SPOTY and British Swimming’s Dive of the Year.
Georgia Taylor-Brown (Triathlon)
2020 was a year Taylor-Brown had been building up to for a long time – the year she could compete at the Olympics.
But as was the case for everyone else, this year did not turn out as expected – although the Manchester triathlete managed to come second in an ITU Triathlon World Cup event before the pandemic took hold.
After taking some time off, Taylor-Brown has eased herself back into competition and became World Champion at the 2020 Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon in September.
With a full winter of training hopefully behind her, the triathlete will be looking to make her Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Millie Turner (Football)
One of the up-and-coming stars of English football is Turner, who is a defender at Manchester United.
The Red Devils sit top of the WSL heading into 2021 and Turner has contributed to the campaign by making 10 appearances and scoring two goals.
But it isn’t just for club where Turner has showcased her skills as she was part of the two Lionesses camps in October and November.
Manager Phil Neville heaped praise on the United star and 2020 could be the year she comes into her own.
Jordanne Whiley (Wheelchair tennis)
The beginning of 2020 started with success for Whiley as she claimed the Australian Open doubles title alongside best friend Yui Kamiji.
It was her first title just 11 months into her comeback after the birth of her son Jackson and set her in good stead with Tokyo looming.
Whiley, who competed in Beijing, London and Rio, has Paralympic medals to her name but is missing the elusive gold from her collection.
With her time in the sport coming to a close, the British star will hope to leave with her head held high.
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