ALIMA PRIEST says going on a four-day training camp was a "real eye-opener" for her as she looks to carve out a successful netball career.
The 17-year-old Coloma Convent Girls School pupil, who plays for Surrey Storm in the National Netball Talent League, recently attended a four-day talent camp at Loughborough University, which was organised by the Youth Sport Trust.
She joined around 90 other aspiring young athletes from several sports at the camp, which aimed to inspire the youngsters and help them learn what it takes to become an elite level sports star. And the England U19 star, who was born and bred in Croydon, said it did just that for her.
"It was a real eye opener and I thought it was really good," said the teenager, who has also played for Howard and Shirley Netball Club in Croydon.
"The speakers in particularly reached out to me and made me think about my future."
One of the speakers was mountaineer Bonita Norris, the youngest British woman to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest.
And Priest said her story and courage was something that really had an impression on her, adding that she was a very brave woman.
"She had no experience of climbing mountains, she just decided she wanted to climb Everest," said Priest.
"Her determination to do it was amazing and to hear her story was really inspirational."
Meanwhile, Priest said it was great to meet such people as Team GB volleyball captain Ben Pipes and former England netball captain Olivia Murphy.
The duo were two of the adult mentors at the camp, helping the young athletes on a one-to-one basis and as a group.
And Priest said their willingness to help was encouraging for the youngsters, particularly with early morning starts for circuit training.
"Ben Pipes was coming round and doing it with us," she said.
"He was going through the paces with us and encouraging us not to give up.
"And for an Olympian to do that, he was so humble.
"He didn't just stand around, he came down to our level and pushed us to do it."
And Priest said she would not hesitate to recommend the camp to anyone else, adding that it had also helped her in the way she wanted it to.
"I feel like I have grown in confidence in respect of having a clear idea on my future.
"I know where I want to be - in 2018 I want to be playing at the World Championships with the senior netball team and I now feel more confident that I can get there."
For now though, Priest is focused on training hard ahead of the upcoming trials for the England U19 squad for this year's European Championships.
The trials take place in Sheffield later this month.