Teenage star Burt to swap Norwich for South Africa this summer as rise to netball stardom continues
Talented teenager Steffi Burt will swap Norwich for South Africa this summer as she continues her rapid rise to netball stardom.
Burt, 19, has competed in javelin at the English Schools Athletic Championship and played tennis for Norfolk but is now reaching even greater heights on a different type of court.
The University of East Anglia student has already been capped by England Under-21s and admits she can't wait to make her Great Britain debut in June's World University Championships in Cape Town.
Burt said: 'Having made my international debut, I'm actually more excited than I am nervous about the tournament.
'I'm really looking forward to going to South Africa and pulling on GB kit for the first time. It's nice I'll know a few of the girls and the coach (Colette Thomson), who is also in charge of England Under-21s.
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'Kadeen Corbin is also in the squad and I really can't wait to play in the same team as her. She plays goal attack, I prefer to play goal shooter, and I think our styles will compliment each other.
'I've always followed her career because we're similar ages and I certainly admire her. I can't wait to get out there now.'
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The 6ft 4in teenager has excelled so much for her home city's Thoroughbreds team in the England Netball Premier League that last season she made her SuperLeague bow.
She scored 27 of her Hertfordshire Mavericks' side's 30 goals to seal third place for her side during a play-off with Team Bath at the SuperLeague Showdown (finals' weekend).
Burt believes her first season at the country's elite level has only served to toughen her up ahead of her future international experiences.
She said: 'It has been a major step-up in terms of training and the competitiveness. I might be coming up against some of the same defenders I play against in the Premier League but the teams as a whole are better.
'I've come off court with bruises and scratches so it's tough and you certainly have to 'man up' quickly to cope. I'm pleased with how my first season with Hertfordshire went because I've managed to get more court time as the season has gone on.
'I feel I've got to grips with the extra pace and I think that's showed because I got plenty of court time - as goal shooter - during the play-offs.'
Next summer the UEA student, who juggles her netball commitments while studying for a biomedicine degree, hopes to feature at the World Youth Championships in Glasgow. Burt has already been selected as part of the 22-player training squad.
She said: 'The tournament in South Africa is a chance for me to stake a claim for a place in the squad by impressing Colette again.
'The World Youth Championships are the pinnacle of any young player's career. It's a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the best young players from around the world.
'It'll certainly be a test but I want to be there and I need to keep playing well to give myself the best chance of that.'
• Netball is not an Olympic sport and funding for players remains limited. Steffi is looking for sponsorship towards the cost of her �660 trip to South Africa. You can contact her via Twitter @SteffiBurt