Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Friday, 25 November 2011

2011 YSPOTY contenders: Anthony Watson Q&A

Winger Anthony Watson in action playing for his club London Irish
Winger Anthony Watson in action playing for his club London Irish

Rugby union star Anthony Watson is the youngest ever London Irish player to play in the Aviva Premiership and a regular member of the England U18 squad.

Anthony, 17, was an early starter in the game, playing at Effingham RFC at the age of five. From there he advanced to play for the England U16 and U18 sides as well as becoming vice-captain at his school, while he recently won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Here are his answers to the questions posed by the School Reporters from Hamble College in Hampshire. And you can find out more about the other nine contenders for the Young Sports Personality of the Year prize here.


Q: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A: If I was an animal I'd be a koala bear because they are relaxed and peaceful animals. Either that or the zebra from the film Madagascar, I like to think it's because I'm always laughing but my friends seem to think it's because of my chin!

Q: Who has been the most important person to get you where you are today?

A: From a rugby point of view, I'd say my coaches for both club and country, Neal Hatley at London Irish and John Fletcher with England. Neal has brought my game on leaps and bounds and is not afraid to put me in situations where other coaches would be hesitant. John has kept me confident in my own ability and is a constant support base for me if I'm ever feeling low.

I also think it would be unfair to not mention my mother and father who have both made sacrifices to get me to where I am. And finally an old teacher who first believed in me, Foland Harold.

Q: What sacrifices have your friends and family had to make for your sporting career?

A: My family have made massive sacrifices to get me to where I am today. My mother has chaperoned me from the age of five, normally while my younger brother would be crying in the back seat!

My father has also travelled up and down the country supporting me every step of the way. I hope one day to repay the favour.

Usain Bolt
Sprint superstar Usain Bolt will be a big draw at the Olympics

Q: If you could have an Olympic or Paralympic ticket for 2012, which event would it be for and why?

A: Definitely the 100m final, it's the absolute pinnacle for sprinters and an awesome spectacle. It would be amazing to witness that live, and I would love to see Usain Bolt's bid to secure a gold medal and another potential world record.

Q: What do the 2012 Olympics being in London mean to you?

A: It's a great opportunity to showcase London as a city and really bring the community together. To me, I see it as an opportunity for sport to grow in the country, which can only benefit society.

The focal point may be London, but I really hope that the games unite the country as one and we can just enjoy the amazing spectacle of the Olympics.

Q: What would you like to have achieved in 10 years' time?

A: It's not too much to ask but I would love to have represented England at senior level and the British and Irish Lions! More immediately, I would like to play more and more first-team rugby for London Irish, and just keep on improving because you are never the finished article.

Q: If you were not an athlete, what career would you like to pursue?

A: I'd like to pursue a career under my father as an engineer or perhaps a chef, because I do enjoy cooking. Although I'd like to think that I'd still be playing a bit of rugby, even if it was just once a week for a Sunday team.

Q: What has been the best - and the worst - moments of your sporting career so far?

A: I'd have to say the best moment was winning a Commonwealth Youth Games gold medal in the Sevens earlier this year in the Isle of Man. It was with a great group that had bonded throughout the year and to top of the season with a gold medal was perfect.

My lowest point was also this year, and it was losing in the final of the FIRA/AER tournament over in France to an Irish team we had beaten earlier in the year. Defeat is hard to take, but it definitely makes you stronger and improves your will to win and do well.

Q: What is your favourite movie and why?

A: Men of Honor, simply because it's the most inspirational movie I've ever seen.

Q: Who was your childhood idol and why?

A: Jonny Wilkinson because of his tireless work ethic and his unblemished career.



SEE ALSO
Tom Daley Q&A
30 Jul 12 |  School Report
2011 YSPOTY contenders: Lucy Garner Q&A
25 Nov 11 |  School Report
2011 YSPOTY winner: Lauren Taylor Q&A
25 Nov 11 |  School Report

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