Hannah Divall

“My school days were some of the toughest moments I have been through in my life. When I started playing sport I could escape all these negative feelings then becoming ‘good’ at sport meant people would talk to me more.

My love for sport grew from that, leading to my sports degree today. I was selected to train at a high level in badminton which was an amazing experience, competing for my school and county gave me a real sense of achievement. I then left my small village for University. To gain some friends I joined sports clubs and had never been happier, everyone was so friendly like never before. When I got membership for the University gym in 2nd year, I was very scared to go as I have never really exercised at a gym. I very nervously signed up and attended a female weights session, this started my love for the gym as the instructors were very approachable and encouraging.

My Master’s year was significantly harder than my previous university experience as most of my friends had graduated, so I decided not to compete in badminton or join the club but join a local badminton club. The people were welcoming, and the sessions were fun which was what I needed.

As lockdown hit, I left Portsmouth. I felt sad leaving a club I built connections with and will miss playing badminton with them. Now in lockdown, I am grateful for living in a quiet area and have started my running journey. I have always wanted to be ‘good’ at running but have never had the motivation until starting couch to 5k, seeing my time reduce is great progress. I am achieving something which I have never been good at and gives a nice break from attempting to finish my degree at home.”

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