Swimming: Hobbah achieves goal of reaching Euro Youth Olympics

City of Leeds Swimmers Sophie Hobbah, left, Layla Black and Amelia Clynes.
City of Leeds Swimmers Sophie Hobbah, left, Layla Black and Amelia Clynes.
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A LOT has happened since Sophie Hobbah made it her goal to compete at a European Youth Olympic Festival.

But as the Leeds swimmer is on the precipice of doing exactly that, she insists she won’t let anything stand in her way.

As soon as it became apparent that Hobbah had a future in swimming, she set her sights on next week’s European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi.

However, disaster struck at Christmas as the City of Leeds swimmer was diagnosed with anaemia, the condition – which results in pallor and weariness – clearly having an effect on the 13-year-old as he times significantly dropped.

But not prepared to give in, Hobbah recovered in time to win the junior 200m backstroke at April’s British Championships in London, also finishing second in the 200m individual medley.

This was enough to secure the Fulneck School pupil a plane ticket to Tbilisi, and after a rollercoaster journey she admits she can’t wait to get going.

“It is just an amazing achievement to be selected for Tbilisi and I can’t wait to get out there and compete,” Hobbah said.

“I was so shocked when I got the email saying I was going because two years ago when I started to swim properly I wrote down that I wanted to go to the European Youth Olympic Festival. So I have been working towards this for two years so to achieve my goal is great and now it is about performing out there.

“It is also great to be going because at Christmas I was diagnosed with anaemia and that was a big shock and I started to lose about ten seconds off my best times and I didn’t know what was happening.

“But that made me all the more determined to succeed so I worked really hard to get back and all the hard work has paid off.

“The highlight of the year was coming back and winning the 200m backstroke at the British Championships in London. I also came second in the 200m individual medley and that was great after what I had been through and now I can look forward.”

The European Youth Olympic Festival will be Hobbah’s maiden event representing Team GB, and after travelling to Italy with the England Talent Squad the teenager well and truly has the taste for life on the international stage.

“I have not competed for Great Britain before but earlier this year in May I went to Italy with the England Talent Squad which was really good,” she added.

“It showed me just how special it will be to swim for Great Britain and I can’t wait to get going.”

To follow the team out at Tbilisi 2015 visit www.TeamGB.com or via Twitter using @TeamGB.