Ahead of the upcoming second reading in the House of Commons on the English national anthem debate, Team England star Jazmin Sawyers believes that England’s sports teams should have a national anthem in place that best represents modern England.
“I think England should have a recognised national anthem, just like the other nations do. It’s really important that England’s national anthem reflects what Team England represents, which is a diverse, all inclusive representation of England as it is today. It’s important that everybody feels a part of it and that the national anthem represents them.”
The 21 year-old, who is a keen singer, believes that ‘Jerusalem’ – which has been Team England’s victory anthem at the Games since Delhi 2010 – is a strong contestant in the debate for an English anthem.
“Because I have already been to a Commonwealth Games and experienced ‘Jerusalem’ it feels like the right national anthem for me.
“However, I don’t know if I could speak for everyone and I think there is an argument for something more contemporary. Jerusalem has a lot of meaning for everybody and would be a good choice, but of course everybody has their own opinions.”
Sawyers, who won silver in the women’s long jump at her first senior Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has found that the Commonwealth Games and Team England has played a fundamental role in her development, from the moment she competed at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011.
“The Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man was great; it was one of those things that really set me up to compete on the big stage as it gave me the experience of high-level competition and winning. It was the first time that I stood on the podium with my nation’s flag flying so it was a great moment for me.
“Glasgow 2014 was my first senior championships and it was better than I could have ever imagined. The fact that it was in Scotland made it feel like a home Games for me and the crowd really got behind us. I couldn’t have asked for anything more and I was really proud of myself as I realised that I was able to step up and compete with the seniors.”
In 2017, Team England’s young athletes will head to the Bahamas for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, and Sawyers offers some advice to the next generation of Team England.
“It’s massively important for their development and I think that going abroad is a big part of every athlete’s progress as it gives you the chance to cope with different time zones, climates and foods. You need to make sure that you are able to cope at the highest level at these competitions and understanding how everything works means that when it comes to the senior events they will be prepared, feel comfortable and be able to solely focus on their performance. At that stage, the pressure is so far off you so you need to go out there and enjoy it and learn.”
Following the excitement of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sawyers has already set her sights on competing for a place in the Team England squad for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“It would be amazing to go to the Gold Coast with Team England. It will be a matter of qualifying for the team but would be a wonderful experience. It feels like yesterday we were in Glasgow and I can’t believe it’s so close already.
“I am looking forward to taking on the Aussies in their own back yard. Especially as there is a girl called Brooke Stratton who I’ve competed against for many years and until very recently her PB was only a few more centimetres than mine. We have constantly been trading PBs over the years and she is definitely someone that I will be looking to beat at the Gold Coast.”
However, just before she heads to the Gold Coast, Sawyers is aiming to get herself on the plane to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“I am hoping to make the team. Women’s long jump is really strong in Britain at the moment and we are really fortunate to have so many girls doing so well. So, at the moment, it’s all about making that team. The real big moments are the trials and getting yourself on the plane. From there, we will see how it goes.”