Wales hockey player Danielle Jordan, 18, from Cwmbran, tells JOHN PHILLIPS about her love of the sport and competing in the Commonwealth Games.
“I went to Croesyceiliog School when I was 11, attended an after school club and it started from there.
At that point I played hockey only once a week, it was about getting involved in sport and it continued until I was 13, once a week after school.
I joined Newport Hockey Club and I played for the under 15 girls' team for a year, and a year after that. I joined the Penarth Ladies Hockey Club, they competed in the Premier Division of the South Wales League.
They had better coaching and I was playing with more experienced players with better standards. That was when I was 15.
I am a midfielder forward. I was selected for the under 16 girls' squad. We played test matches against Scotland and Ireland.
During my second season, I was moved up from the under 16 to the under 18 team and I went to the UK School Games in London in the Olympic Park and the Celtic Cup in Edinburgh.
We went in May just before the Olympics. It was an amazing experience, it was a big learning curve. It was a multi sport event with seven different sports going on, so it’s designed like a mini Olympics with athletes from other disciplines.
I think we came last. We played Ulster and two England teams I think. It was hard, but to me it was great to be part of it because I had only just become part of the under 18 squad.
I had been to Scotland before. In that event, we came third. We did quite well in that event. It was Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland.
The year 2012 was kind of a good year for me. At the end of September that’s when I got my first senior cap.
I was called to go the Champions Challenge with the senior squad in Dublin.
Again, it was a big learning experience. We played against Australia, America, Belgium and India. Wales was one of the reserve teams for this tournament, a lot of teams pulled out.
We went there for ranking points to qualify for the Commonwealth Games.
We qualified. The Champions Challenge was really beneficial to us. We were playing teams of such high standards.
We fund a lot of what we do internationally ourselves, because hockey is not a professional game in Wales.
And a lot of the teams you play in the Commonwealth Games are all full time athletes.
I’ve just sat my A-levels. It makes a massive difference, developing the skills and set pieces and of course strength conditioning.
So I think that we can be proud of the progression we’ve made over the last few months, when we are at such a disadvantage.
We came ninth out of 10 teams at the Commonwealth Games but for me to have this experience at 18 years old was just incredible.
We would have liked to make the seventh /eighth playoffs. We were disappointed with that. We didn’t beat Malaysia.
We had never played Malaysia before. They were ranked 15 places above us in the world. I think when you put that into perspective, it wasn’t too bad.
We had five games, we won our ninth / tenth playoff 4-0 against against Trinidad.
During the whole event we had a massive crowd throughout the Games.
I felt I enjoyed the hockey throughout. We did have some tough results but I tried to stay positive.
The village was fantastic. We lived in a house - the whole team. We were on Team Wales Square, it was purposely built for the Commonwealth Games, and then it’s going to be a housing estate.
I met Tom Daley. It was really lovely. I wanted to meet him and on the last day I finally met him.
I also met Adam Gemili, the sprinter, and I went past Bradley Wiggins one day. It was surreal, it was so different. In previous competitions, it was just hockey and now you’re with Olympic champions.
It made the Games feel really special. Having experienced it is even more motivating and makes you want to be part of it again.
We were there for 17 days. The opportunity of the Games in Glasgow was once in a lifetime, because it was so close to home in a way.
The crowds were really supportive of the home nations.
And also families and friends could come and watch. I had my parents, my brother and sister, my nan, my uncle and a friend.
I did notice them in the crowd and we could see them for an hour after the games.
They had a great time, they really soaked up the whole atmosphere. They were really proud and exited to be there.
They thoroughly enjoyed it, I think, because it was a different atmosphere up there. I think there was a real buzz around.
I’m waiting for my A-level results. I took history, RE, PE and the Welsh Baccalaureate.
I’m hoping I’ve done OK in the circumstances. The culmination of selection and A-levels came at the same time.
In September, I decided I really wanted to go for Glasgow, because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
So I think that my grades will have been affected.
We had so many training camps and test matches before selection. Selection was on May 19 but then I was still in school up until June 19, so it was really, really full on and I actually went from my last exam to a game.
I’m going to wait for results' day and make a decision on my future and decide what I want to do.
I love the skill and how fast hockey is. I just love being part of the team as well, on and off the pitch. It’s really fun.
When things are really hard, you always go through it together. There’s always someone there for you.
Going forward, we’ve got the European Championships next summer. Last year we went to Athens and we got promoted, so this next championship is going to be really important for world ranking points."