Jayda Pechova's whirlwind year only starting to sink in

Jayda Pechova was one of ten nominees for the SportsAid One-to-Watch Award (Image: Sportsbeat)
Jayda Pechova was one of ten nominees for the SportsAid One-to-Watch Award (Image: Sportsbeat)

By Oli Dickson Jefford

Netballer Jayda Pechova admits her whirlwind year on the court is only just starting to sink in.

The Fleet star, 18, has competed in U21 Netball Europe events this season, as well as representing England in the recent Fast5 series in New Zealand.

And in a year that saw her seal a contract for Team Bath next season, her potential was recognised with a nomination for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch award.

With only 10 athletes shortlisted from a potential shortlist of over 1,000 athletes, Pechova says that it was only when she looked back at 2022 that she realised just how significant it had been.

She said: “I feel like I never really put it into perspective until I looked back on the year and thought I actually have achieved quite a lot.

“I’m just excited for what’s to come, just to keep pushing forward, just keep training with incredible people and learning from them - I’m really encouraged for next season.

“I’ve just got back from New Zealand, competing in the Fast5 world series which was really fun. Just being in the same environment as incredible players that I’ve always looked up to, it was crazy.

“I also went to U21s Netball Europe which we won which was really good as well and I also captained an invitational team at Netball Europe earlier this year.”

SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award has gained a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects in Britain since its launch in 2006.

Previous winners, including Tom Daley OBE, Hollie Arnold MBE, Courtney Tulloch and Alex Yee MBE, have already amassed over 50 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, to establish themselves as household names.

Pechova is rising up the netball ranks at a rapid-fire pace, and it is fair to say she holds clear ambitions for her future.

The teenager is looking to make her mark for Team Bath when the new season begins next February, and also start pushing to feature internationally.

She added: “For next season, the target is definitely getting court time in the Super League. I got my first full contract this year so I’m really excited for that and continuing through the England pathway, getting put in more squads - I’m really excited for that!

“Long term wise, it’s definitely senior England - being part of that group would be my dream. Playing against the main New Zealand team with the main England team would actually be a dream of mine."

SportsAid’s Celebrate the Next event, kindly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, was hosted at Sea Containers House in London thanks to Hogarth Worldwide. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk to find out more.