Chasing national dreams out west

Former Gael Emma Chown in British Columbia as part of National Rugby 7s program

Emma Chown was an OUA-All Star last season for Queen’s.
Emma Chown was an OUA-All Star last season for Queen’s.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

After three years of moving from a practice squad player at Queen’s to OUA All-Star, Emma Chown has added yet another item to her list of accomplishments in rugby.

In July, Chown represented Canada at the Rugby 7s portion of the FISU games in Wales. Just a month after that, Chown was invited to move to Victoria to be a part of the centralized women’s national team.

When Chown got the call, she was both surprised and very excited.

“I had an amazing three and a half years at Queen’s but knew that I would develop as a rugby player so much more being part of the centralized environment,” Chown said in an e-mail interview with The Journal.

Although it was tough to leave Queen’s and her teammates, Chown knew she couldn’t pass up on this opportunity. 

“I was definitely nervous as I was coming into a new environment, but it’s been a great experience so far.”

After joining the national program in the summer, Chown was allowed to stay in Kingston for one last semester to finish some courses. Although she wasn’t allowed to play during the OUA season — partially due to a risk of injury — Chown had a busy schedule.

During her last semester as a Gael, the former OUA All-Star worked on her conditioning, speed and strength to prepare for her time in Victoria. Chown balanced practice with going to Victoria to train, as well as going to Trinidad in October with her new teammates.

Since January,  Chown has traded in her time as a student-athlete to become pro. With a schedule that used to be filled with class, Chown now trains from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., four times a week. When training is done, Chown does video review on her own time, as well as taking one online class.

As a member of the women’s national team, Chown competes in the World Rugby HSBC Seven Series, as well as development tournaments. On a team of 25, 12 of the more veteran players travel on the HSBC tour, with Chown going to more of the developmental tournaments. No matter what tournament she’s at, Chown is proud to wear the maple leaf.

“Being a part of this program, I am reminded of how lucky I am to live in Canada and have this great opportunity to do what I love every day.”

Although she admits her biggest complaint about Victoria is that food and gas is more expensive, Chown also misses her family and friends back home.

“I definitely miss my friends from home and at school, but I’ve been able to keep in touch through texting and Facetime. I’ve also been encouraging all of my friends to visit me in Victoria,” she said.

Even though she might have been planning for graduation just a few short months ago, Chown now has bigger plans for herself — the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“Obviously, this will take lots of hard work, but being centralized in Victoria gives me the opportunity to train and improve every day to the level where I need to be.” 

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