Worthing-born beach volleyball star Jess Grimson is not content with just competing at the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Along with partner Victoria Palmer, the duo made history at the back end of last year by being named the first female pair to represent England in the sport at a Commonwealth competition.
Grimson, who is now based in Bournemouth after moving to Dorset to focus on training, competed on the world tour for the large part of last year with team-mate Palmer.
The pair managed to accumulate enough points to see them gain entry into this year’s Commonwealth Games - which takes place on the Gold Coast in April.
No matter what happens, former Durrington High School student Grimson and Palmer will go down in history.
This Games marks the first time beach volleyball has been included but Grimson is not happy just to settle for playing a part.
She said: “Competing at a major Games is a dream for any athlete, so to qualify for the Commonwealths will be my biggest achievement to date.
“It was our first time competing on the world tour last year, which is the highest circuit you can compete on.
“This is the first time beach volleyball has ever been included in the Commonwealth Games, so it’s not only history for our sport - it’s history for our country.
“We are the first English team to ever qualify and compete at a Commonwealth Games, which is something that can never be taken away from us.
“Our aim is to compete and come out with a performance we are happy with. Ultimately, if we could make the semi-final and podium that would be a dream come true. We want to put England on the map and show we can play beach volleyball.”
Both 26-year-old Grimson and partner Palmer work full-time, with women’s beach volleyball in England currently receiving no funding. Grimson admits it is tough at times but she is pleased to see the hard work being rewarded now.
She added: “Olympics are the ultimate dream. The men’s team were given money for the Commonwealth Games but my partner and I have always worked full-time to fund playing.
“It’s been very testing at times but we love what we do. We will keep working at it in the hope we get some support one day.”
Grimson and Palmer are actively seeking sponsorship. Anyone interested can contact the pair by email on firstname.lastname@example.org