As the World Cup 2018 kicks off in Manchester this week we’re celebrating our very own superstar jammer Sally Jones, who will be taking to the track for Team Wales this Thursday.
We spoke to Sally about what’s to come from her very first World Cup.
How do you feel about the World Cup being held so close to us in Manchester?
Not going to lie, part of me was a little disappointed it wasn’t being held in Australia this year, but it is actually very special to have the World Cup in the UK and in Manchester. It’s a great opportunity. It’s more accessible for derby fans in the UK and rest of Europe, and even better that friends and family who have never seen a derby game want to be part of it. There is definitely a buzz this year that wouldn’t be felt if it had been held outside of the UK.
Do you do anything in particular as preparation on game day? Anything specific to the World Cup?
I try to keep as chilled as possible during my game day prep. For Wales we tend to do the normal on and off-skates warmup. I like to spend a few minutes visualising the first few jams. Something I have not done for a tournament before is listen to podcasts on sport psychology. I have found that this has really helped my mental game, and I’m hoping to listen to some throughout the weekend to make sure I stay focussed.
What do you do to look after yourself and keep up your performance over the whole tournament?
I will stretch LOTS after each game, foam roll, the usual. During previous long tournaments I have put aeroplane socks on at night, which helps with circulation. Not sure if that’s a tip or something I should have kept to myself as I look kinda funny, but I find it helps keep my legs feel fresh for the next day.
Which teams would you be keen to see this year?
I want to see Team Poland, they seem to have the biggest crowd so the atmosphere at their games will be great. Otherwise I am looking forward to seeing Australia as I have never seen them play.
Which teams and players are you especially excited to play against?
I think I want to play against the USA. If that does happen I’m sure I will be quick to change my mind, but it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to share the track with some of the best skaters out there. As for players, I love Lil Slinky of Sweden, one of the best jammers I have ever played against.
Anyone you think will be a particularly tough opponent?
So many. Our first 2 games against Canada and France will be tough and definitely physical, especially against France.
What’s the one goal you want to achieve at the World Cup?
I want Wales to play well as a team. It can take a lot of work and time for teams to gel on track so I would love to feel like we have achieved this!
Any players you’d pick out as ones to watch?
Mort #7 for Team Wales. Every training session she does some amazing jamming to which my usual response is ‘eh – how did she do that?!’ She’s awesome!
Wales face off against Canada and France on day 1 of the World Cup 2018. Find out more, see the full schedule, and watch the live stream at rollerderbyworldcup.com
Photography by Paul Jones Photography Cardiff