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Elise from Asda Gillingham Pier plays for England at the Korfball World Championships

April 18, 2019 11:23am
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Good luck to Elise Sparks from our Gillingham Pier store who's playing for the England under-19 squad in the Korfball World Championships in the Netherlands this weekend.

Asda Gillingham Pier colleague and Korfball star Elise Sparks

Elise has loved playing the sport – a cross between netball and basketball where men and women can play on the same team and against each other – for 10 years, and has represented England at various age levels.

Elise, who's 19 and works part-time on the checkouts while studying at the University of Kent, said: "When I was eight or nine, someone came into my primary school to teach us how to play this sport called korfball.

"She saw me give it a try and said I was good at it, so I joined a club, the Tornadoes. I've been playing ever since.

"It's a mixture of basketball and netball and both men and women can play on the same team on an equal playing field. There aren't many sports where you can do that, and I think that's great.

"When I was about 11 I got asked to attend training with the England development squad, so I did that for a year and when I was 12 I was named in the under-15 squad.

Asda Gillingham Pier colleague Elise Sparks playing Korfball

"I've gone through all the age groups. Over Easter I'm playing for the under-19s in the World Championships in the Netherlands, then in October I'm playing in the under-21 World Championships in the Czech Republic.

"Colleagues have been supportive and encouraging, saying it's good to work alongside someone who's playing sport for England.

Asda Gillingham Pier colleagues with Korfball star Elise Sparks

"My parents are very proud too – they always come along to watch me and support me."

The store's community champion Diana Morgan said: "We're very proud of her, it's really nice to know we have someone at the store who is achieving great things in sport.

"At the start, quite a lot of us didn't know what korfball was, but now Elise has told us about it we're all following her progress."

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