Mum's pride as former Ipswich schoolboy named in Tokyo 2020 Olympics squad
- Credit: Ethan Waddleton
Former Ipswich schoolboy Ethan Waddleton has been named in the Team GB rugby sevens squad for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old rugby star, who was a student at St Joseph's College in Ipswich, is one of 12 players selected to travel to Tokyo for the men's competition in July.
Waddleton made his debut for the national rugby sevens team in January 2017, and has become a regular fixture in the England team.
The defensive player was part of the team that won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.
Before joining the England Sevens academy programme, Waddleton spent time with Northampton Saints and Saracens’ academies, after a successful few years playing for his school team.
During his school career he played in the same side as England and Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlum, with St Jo’s winning the U16s Rosslyn Park Sevens, before winning their own tournament – the prestigious St Joseph’s Festival – as an U18 group.
His mum Karla Waddleton said she is "very proud" of what her son has achieved.
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"He's had a heck of a journey to get here and we still can't quite believe it," said Mrs Waddleton.
"He's had injury after injury and lots of setbacks, but we are very grateful for everyone who has been there to support him."
Mrs Waddleton said she will be watching from their home in Ipswich, as the only spectators at the Olympics will be those from Tokyo due to current travel restrictions.
The men’s competition will take place from 26-28 July, with the women’s tournament following on 29-31 July, and the gold medal match happening on ‘Super Saturday’. All the action will take place at the Tokyo Stadium.
Tom Mitchell will lead the men’s squad, which includes four players who competed in Rio, including all-time World Rugby Sevens Series leading try scorer Dan Norton.
This weekend they travelled to LA to take part in ‘Quest for Gold Sevens’, their final preparation event ahead of the Games.
Men’s head coach Tony Roques said: “It was really tough to deliver the news to a lot of people I’ve known for a long time. Ultimately, I feel I’ve done what was right for us to be successful at the Olympic Games. I’d like to congratulate those selected. They’ve worked extremely hard over the last few months and deserve this opportunity.
“We’re all very much looking forward to continuing our preparation and then heading to Tokyo.”