England netball star Eboni Usoro-Brown cannot wait to get back on court after birth of baby Savannah

Report by Cari Davies

Bath and England netball star Eboni Usoro-Brown says she is looking forward to being back on court as soon as possible after the arrival of her first child. 

Savannah was born in August 2020 and Eboni says she wants to become one of a growing number of elite athletes who return to their sport after giving birth, so others feel able to do the same.

The 32-year-old says she is raring to go and that, while she is loving being a mum, netball remains an important part of her identity. 

For now Eboni is focused on preparing for the return of the Superleague season, due to start in February next year. But she hasn't entirely ruled out representing England again in the future.

Eboni (top left) was part of the England netball team that won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Credit: PA

Eboni previously juggled qualifying as a solicitor with preparing for the 2018 Commonwealth Games - where England won a historic gold medal. 

A bronze at the World Cup followed in July 2019 and so Savannah's arrival was well-timed.

While that fitted Eboni's schedule, she says it is important that more advice could be offered to young female athletes as they embark on their elite sporting careers. 

She says, "I think there's definitely a need for the conversation, as a young athlete it's probably not a consideration most of us have, especially in the early days of our career."

Eboni celebrates with her team mates after winning bronze at the Netball World Cup in 2019. Credit: PA

Eboni also says the support structures around athletes navigating the decisions around starting a family are 'vital'. 

Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in the number of high profile athletes who continued their sporting careers after having a baby.

Athletes Jo Pavey and Jessica Ennis-Hill and tennis star Serena Williams all returned to elite sport after having children. Credit: PA

There may be more logistical challenges with a team sport, particularly when, like netball in the UK, it is not professional.

But with the right support in place, Eboni says motherhood and elite netball are perfectly matched.

"Its USP is that it's dominated by women, having a baby and wanting to start a family is not something that should be shunned or seen negatively."

Proud mum and grandmother - Eboni with mum Pauline Beckford and baby Savannah. Credit: ITV West Country