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Vicki Oyesola of the Vitality Roses and Leeds Rhinos Netball.

Vicki Oyesola of the Vitality Roses taking on New Zealand. Source | Bex Charteris

Today (16/01/21), we celebrate the birthday of Vicki Oyesola as the Vitality Rose defender turns 23!

In a difficult year for the sport, Vicki still managed to make tremendous strides in 2020 and was part of Jess Thirlby’s squad that travelled to New Zealand for the three-match test series in October.

She also completed a move to new Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) franchise Leeds Rhinos Netball departing Loughborough Lightning where she was named VNSL’s Young Player of the Season in 2017.

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Securing that award in her debut campaign was indicative of her potential and she’ll hope for even greater success with the Rhinos.

Combining her playing career with her studies for a Mechanical Engineering Degree at Loughborough University, the 23-year-old has worked incredibly hard to reach this point and has emulated some of her idols growing up: “My role models at a younger age were Naida Hutchinson and Layla Guscoth,” she said.

“They both played for Academy and for Saracens Mavericks when I was playing NPL. They were both involved with the Vitality Roses as well so it was really good because I had the opportunity to train alongside them.

“I also got to see the progression that they made playing top, top level netball as great defenders for Hertfordshire Mavericks and for the Vitality Roses.”

The journey for Vicki began at age 10 when she first stepped onto a netball court and there were two coaches in particular who had a significant influence on her development: “When I first started playing, my PE coach at primary school – Mr Wilk. He was probably the biggest influence on me. He was a really keen netballer and a really good coach. We did really well as a school team,” she explained.

“After that, it was probably when I joined Academy Netball Club when I was 12. The coach that I had, Diane Dunkley, was a big influence on me because she pushed me a lot to train with the adult side and gave me a lot of opportunities to play and progress with older and better players.”

The London-born player made her international debut in a 61-48 victory over Scotland at Netball Europe in 2017 as England went on to win that tournament in Cardiff and she now boasts six caps for the Vitality Roses.

Why not wish Vicki a happy birthday on her Twitter and Instagram profile?

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