ALICE Tinn might not have left the Sainsbury’s School Games with what she went looking for, but after rubbing shoulders with her idols the Spalding rugby starlet insists the trip was a worthwhile one.
The 17-year-old was part of the England Midlands team at Barking Rugby Club that was looking to improve on last year’s third-place finish and take home the Rugby Sevens cup.
But with three defeats in their opening five matches, Tinn and co would have to settle for fighting it out for the bowl.
Spalding High School pupil Tinn ensured England Midlands took home what was on offer, beating Wales 24-22 to take home the bowl.
And despite admitting it was the cup she was after, with current England Women Rugby stars Margaret Alphonsi and Danielle Waterman watching on, Tinn insists the trip to the capital was well worth it.
“I’m absolutely exhausted and in a fair bit of pain, so I could be better from that point of view,” she said. “The pain would be a little bit easier to deal with had we won the cup competition but it just wasn’t to be – although I thought we played some nice stuff.
“But I’m so delighted and happy with the amazing experience we’ve had. I really enjoyed every moment of it and I’ve seen things I never would before.
“I’ve done so much I never thought I would and to have Maggie (Alphonsi) here the whole time commentating and giving us support was amazing.
“She’s one of my role models and it was great to chat to her and learn from her.
“I’m so proud of how the team have performed. We maybe didn’t play to our best, but that’s what happens sometimes. The other teams were very big and physical so it was hard to play against them.”
With this year’s School Games taking place in London, the country’s youngsters got to have a sneak peak at some of the London 2012 venues with sports taking place at the ExCeL, Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome.
And with Rugby Sevens being included in the Olympic programme from 2016 onwards, Tinn insists the atmosphere has got her hoping for an Olympic adventure of her own in the future.
“The competition has been fantastic with all the great venues and I watched the wheelchair basketball in the ExCel and it was incredible,” she added.
“All in all it was an amazing experience. I got to go to the Olympic Park, who gets to do that?
“Everything made me want to do it for real in the future and I hope I get the chance.”
The Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games was held at the Olympic Park and other venues from 6-9 May, with school-aged elite athletes competing across 12 sports.
Visit www.2012schoolgames.com for information.