AS part of an England 7s squad that tours the world playing in some of sport’s greatest cathedrals, Cuckfield’s Tom Mitchell has played in front of some impressive crowds.
But the England skipper admits that claiming the first ever Commonwealth Games gold as Glasgow 2014 for Team England would be beyond anything he has experienced before.
Mitchell and fellow England star Phil Burgess visited the Olympic Park earlier this month to help celebrate the passage of the Queen’s Baton, the traditional curtain raiser to the Games.
They met some of the members of the public chosen to carry the baton, which has visited every Commonwealth country and territory on its journey to Glasgow.
And Mitchell said seeing thousands of crowds come out to see the baton and celebrate the spirit of the Games had only whetted his appetite for what’s to come next month.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity to come down here and soak up some of the atmosphere a few weeks ahead of the actual event,” said Mitchell.
“Everyone in our squad is really excited about the Commonwealth Games, it’s a massive multi-sport event with Team England and a massive opportunity for us to do something a bit different in front of a new crowd and a new audience and we’re really looking forward to it.”
The 24-year-old and his team ended their season on a high last month, with Mitchell knocking over a drop goal to defeat the All Blacks 15-12 at the Twickenham leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in front of a packed house on their way to a third-placed finish.
“We finished the season on a high, had a couple of weeks off and now we’ve come back in and we’re raring to go,” added the former Worth School pupil.
“It’s nice to have one single focus to work towards, we have a nice block of training now and a few warm-up tournaments to get ourselves in the zone and in the right place for the Commonwealths.
“With the audience we will reach hopefully we can create a bit of a legacy, there’s a huge history of 7s more so than perhaps people realise and we want to open that up to as many people as we can.
“Not many people get the opportunity to take part in the Commonwealth Games so to come home with a medal, especially a gold one, would be a pretty special moment.”
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