We were lucky enough to catch up with England ladies rugby 7 forward Deborah Fleming, who was born and bred in none other than Cornwall! She returns from the Gold Coast as a Commonwealth Bronze medal winner.
STSW: You recently returned from a pretty successful trip to the Gold Coast…. congratulations on your Bronze medal! Did you have time to enjoy your surroundings during your time away and how are you feeling about your win?
Deborah: Thank you, we are all really pleased to have won a bronze medal in the first women’s rugby 7s commonwealth tournament, it’s an honour to be apart of the squad. Whilst in Australia, we didn’t have too much time to explore the area but luckily the majority of the squad had been in Australia in Jan/Feb when we played in the Sydney 7s World Series tournament and the Brisbane Super 7s tournament so had the opportunity to explore Sydney and Brisbane then; The Opera House, Manly Island and a trip to a Koala Sanctuary.
STSW: What would you say to young girls who are aspiring to make rugby their profession when they grow up?
Deborah: To all the young girls who are aspiring to become professional rugby players, I would say absolutely pursue all the sporting opportunities you get, train hard and play with enjoyment. Focus on each game and season and the journey of becoming the best player/athlete that you can become. Sport provides amazing opportunities to travel, make life time friends and create awesome memories so enjoy each opportunity and take it with both hands. It is fantastic that women’s sport is being championed all around the world with increased professional opportunities and over the coming years those opportunities will increase again and the future of female sport is massive, so definitely dare to dream and aim to become professional in which ever sport you decide to participate in.
Deborah: When I was growing up I was inspired through Athletics and my enjoyment of running, and as I became older it was watching 1996/2000 Olympic games that really made me focus on sport. I think namely athletes like Flo-Jo, Kelly Holmes, and then as I got older Serena Williams were the athletes I focused on. I have always been quite intrinsically motivated though and I think even at a young age I was inspired by the idea of what my future could hold.
STSW: We’ve read that you’re a big fan of the Cornish Pirates, you must be excited about the recent announcement of plans for a stadium in Truro?
Deborah: I am extremely excited by the possible opportunities that the stadium could create for Cornish rugby, and I hope for women’s rugby also. It is about time the Cornish Pirates were given a great stadium!! Although it was always nice that the Pirates played in Penzance, as they were right on your doorstep.
STSW: What’s around the corner for you? A well-earned break after your hard work over in Australia?
Deborah: Post Commonwealth Games we are preparing for our next World Sevens Series legs in Canada at the beginning of May and in Paris beginning of June before, we have our World Cup in July in San Francisco. So we have a lot going on at the moment which is exciting!
STSW: Favourite sport other than rugby?
Deborah: I think other than rugby my favourite sports are athletics and netball- both of which I played for the majority of my teens. Whilst at the Commonwealth games I was lucky enough to go and be a spectator at the netball and athletics and both were incredible with great atmospheres and fantastic athleticism on show.
STSW: Favourite beach in Cornwall?
Deborah: Picking a beach in Cornwall is so difficult because there are so many great ones to choose from, but I think Gwenver, Sennen Cover or Porthcurno steal my vote. Take me to any of those three and I am very happy!
A big thanks to Deborah for taking the time out to speak to us.