At just eight years of age, Rhian Evans’ grandmother took her to play netball every Saturday. As her love for the sport flourished, so did her talent, and at just 14, Rhian had her first cap for the Wales U17s netball team. This led to Rhian captaining the Welsh side and victory over Northern Ireland. Since this early milestone, Rhian has quickly progressed to become one of Wales’ top sporting talents, receiving her first cap for Wales’ U21s at age 17.
In January 2020, second year Sports and Exercise undergraduate Rhian became Celtic Dragons Senior Squad’s youngest ever player. She is one of the University’s elite sporting athletes and won the title of ‘Young sportsperson of the year’ at the Swansea Sports Awards 2019. Rhian says: “Netball gives me a sense of achievement; it has helped me improve my skills and ensures I achieve my goals plus I can apply the focus I have for sport to other activities in my life.
My sports scholarship has played a big role in my life, especially financially. Training six times a week, I’ve used the money to purchase essential, high-quality footwear and to lower travel costs. The Sport Swansea Team has been very supportive as well, so I don’t ever need to worry about clashes between games and my studies.”
Rhian has been integral in the early promotion of the Swansea University netball team especially in the recent cup final victory against Plymouth. “I’ve had so many opportunities whilst being in University,” she said, “from starting pre-season, to later winning the cup – and I’ve made so many friends.”
While netball is her ultimate sport, Rhian’s advanced capabilities mean she has also received a Welsh Cap for cricket, playing in all age groups including seniors, and has also received her Welsh vest (U17) for athletics (throwing discus and shotput). While there are undoubtedly many special moments to come, Rhian is already able to pinpoint a highlight in her career so far: “Playing with Celtic Dragons, we played against Manchester Thunder who are the best club in the country, so having an opportunity to step-up against them made me really proud. I managed to score a few goals as well. Despite losing the game, we’re a young squad so there’s plenty of time to just keep improving and I know we can.”
Rhian has been named as Swansea’s Junior Sportswomen of the year 2020 and has proved she is an excellent all-rounder, winning Swansea University Fresher of the year 2020. She is now focused on realising her dream – to be part of the Youth World Cup in Fiji 2021.
It seems no goal is out of reach for this already decorated young athlete. Swansea University is very proud to play a small part in what is undeniably a bright future for Rhian Evans.
Find out more about Swansea University’s Sports Scholarships.