Client news   |    January 18th, 2022


For many women, sport has always been an important part of life. It wasn’t an activity in school to be avoided at all costs or just something for the boys. The image of women in sport has been badly misrepresented in many ways over the years and worse, girls/women were discouraged or even banned from taking part or spectating in sporting life. Fortunately for us, and even better for the new generations to come, women are now claiming their equal space front and center in all areas of the sporting world, celebrated, and championed in the arenas, on our televisions and in the boardrooms. And rightly so. Recently, at an Integral Sports management photo shoot, our Head of Media Bianca Westwood met up to talk with three of our female clients, all shining lights with fantastic potential to grow and succeed in their relevant spheres. We asked them ten questions to get their insights into what their development has been like, and what, with our help, we can hope to see them achieve in their careers.

1. How did your love of sport begin?

Emily – Sport has always been a huge part of my life. Growing up, I wanted to play as many sports as possible & found it incredibly sociable as a young girl. I loved that I could see my friends at the same time as playing a sport that I really enjoyed. My favourite sports to play are tennis (of course!), badminton and netball and I was able to reach a national level in all of them before deciding to specialise in tennis.

Ciara – Just playing with my friends down the park, playing in the garden with my brother and going to watch him play on the weekends, which led to me asking my dad to find me a team I could play for.

Emma – I’ve been riding all my life and started with ponies. My family has always had a love for horses.

Emily Appleton

2. What’s happening in your career now?

Ciara – I’m currently pushing for promotion with Southampton, and working hard to get into the Euro squad for the summer with Northern Ireland.

Emma – I’m a conditional National Hunt jockey affiliated to Micky Hammond Racing in Middleham, Yorkshire

Emily – I’m just beginning my first block of tournaments in 2022 which will all be in the UK. I have set new goals that I’m working towards and I’m really excited to start competing so that I can put everything I’ve been working on pre-season into play.

Ciara Watling

3. Best moment of your career?

Emma – Anytime I ride a winner! It’s great seeing the joy on the owners’ faces. Having a winner whether you own, train, or are lucky enough to ride is what the sport is all about.

Emily – Winning my first two professional singles titles back-to-back in 2018. Another highlight was winning my first $25K doubles title last October which was actually my 13th professional title overall. And of course, being able to compete in all four of the Grand Slams as a junior in 2017 will always be a great memory for me.

Ciara – Qualifying for the Euros last year is definitely up there! Playing against England and Wembley was also a great moment.

Emma Smith-Chaston

4. Worst moment in your career/biggest setback?

Emily – Soon after I won my two pro singles titles in 2018 my ranking had risen to 501 in the world which was my career high. At the end of 2018 the ITF (International Tennis Federation) decided to change the ranking structure and literally overnight my ranking fell almost 150 places. This hurt my confidence as it felt as though everything I’d worked for was lost.

Emma – Always when you get injured. I had a collar bone injury last year which put me out of the saddle for a fair time.  I’m not a good watcher of the sport so those long days in the gym, getting rehab and physio can be tough and lonely at times.

Ciara – Worst moment of my career would be when I’ve suffered mentally with football in the past and not enjoying any moment of training or playing. My biggest setback would be being dropped from the Northern Ireland squad but this really helped me push forward and improve myself to get back into the squad.

Ciara Watling

5. How has Integral helped you?

Emily – Integral has played such a key supporting role in my tennis career this past year. They are always there to help wherever they can and they genuinely just want the best for me and my tennis. They are incredibly encouraging, supportive and helpful and it feels like they are an extra family and support network that I’ve gained. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people through Integral and I am very grateful for all of their help.

Ciara – Integral helped me sign at Southampton where I am now and I’m really enjoying my football.

Emma – ISM have given me collective support. Speaking to me whether I am riding or not is always something that I appreciate. Contacting me regularly when I was out injured for three months meant a lot.

6. What are your ambitions for the future?

Ciara – To win the league with Southampton and to make the Euro squad.

Emma – To get as far as I can in the sport. My mother trains horses so whether I take that path myself later in life I’m not sure yet. At the minute I’m just eager to ride as many winners as possible.

Emily – My goal is to break into the top 100 in the world, play in the Grand Slam events and to win WTA titles. As a junior I got a taste of what it is like to play at the highest level of tennis and it was such an inspiring occasion and so I’m determined to get back there in the near future as a professional player.

Emily Appleton

7. What does your weekly routine look like?

Ciara – Mondays I recover my legs so usually would be stretching, foam rolling, upper body work or maybe go to the spa. Tuesdays is gym and training, Wednesday is optional gym and training, Thursday is gym, analysis and training, Friday I usually rest at home and go for a walk or another trip to the gym. Saturdays we do a light session, walk throughs, set pieces maybe a little game, and possibly staying away for our fixture. Sunday is match day!

Emily – It rarely looks the same in tennis because each week is different, you never know where you are going to be or for how long. If I get a chance to be in the same place for a week I try to do two on court tennis sessions per day. I do power/strength sessions as well as metabolic sessions on alternating days and then on the other days I look to do a speed session on court. I work very hard during training weeks and so I welcome a day off on Saturday and/or Sunday when it comes around!

Emma – I’m usually working in the yard and riding out. if I have rides in the week there can be a fair bit of travelling between meetings.

8. What’s it like being a female in sport?

Emma – In Horse Racing women are treated fairly and equally. As we compete on a level playing field that’s all you want. Rachael Blackmore is considered one of the best in our sport across the board so its great to have females to aspire to.

Emily – I certainly find it tough at times. We’re not only seen or judged as tennis players but also for what we look like, what size we are and what we wear. This can be pretty demoralising. There are a lot of organisations now however that are really trying to help promote women’s sport, like the Women’s Sport Trust and the Women’s Sports Alliance and I think they’re doing a great job and things can only keep improving for females in sport.

Ciara – When I was younger it was unique, however now I think there’s a lot more women in sport. I believe we are getting more opportunities and respect these days. I’ve enjoyed making a lot of friends with the same interests, goals and dedication.

9. What piece of advice would you give a young female looking to get where you are?

Ciara – Be prepared to make sacrifices and take pride in what you do.

Emily Respect the fact that it will be a long road to get to where you want to be, but enjoy the challenge of that! It’s also super important to find other interests and hobbies alongside the tennis. Tennis is a gruelling and demanding sport and it’s nice to have something else to take your mind off things. And to the young girls out there I would say that the best thing you can do is to focus on yourself and your journey as opposed to anyone else’s. It’s easy to compare yourself to other girls but you’re all that matters so give yourself all the love!

Emma – Keep working hard and enjoy the good moments.

Emma Smith-Chaston

10. What did you think of the photo shoot?

Emma – It was a bit different to what I am used to. Less mud on my face that’s for sure!

Emily – The photo shoot was a lot of fun! It was the first time I had met Ciara and Emma and it was really nice to meet some of the ISM team too. At first I was a little nervous about doing the actual shoot as there were lots of people watching but Ray and Gary kept us laughing all the way through it. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to see how the pictures came out!

Ciara – I think it was a great day, meeting the whole team especially the other girls. It was very fun and everyone got along. Gary was a natural behind the camera (editor’s note – Ciara must have been paid to say that!)

So there you have it. Three ladies with all the drive and determination to succeed in their chosen fields. All of us at Team ISM can’t wait to see what else you are capable of and we will be with you every step of the way!

Ciara Watling, Emily Appleton and Emma Smith-Chaston.

If you wish to see more from our girls, please follow them on Instagram!




Photography – Amy Maidment.

Bianca Westwood - Head of Media, Integral Sports Management.

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