The Ross and Cromarty Sports Council grant helped me to take my first steps on my international orienteering journey, which I hope to continue over the coming years. I would like to say a big thank you for the support you gave me as a junior and I really hope that the sports council continues to support young sportspeople in this way in the future.
In 2010 I finished my final year at Dingwall Academy and that summer I was selected to represent GB at the European Youth Orienteering Championships in Spain. In the following years I competed at the Junior European Cup races in Austria (2011) and Switzerland (2012) and Euromeeting in Scotland in 2013. I was also part of the winning women's relay team at the British University Orienteering Championships for 4 consecutive years as part of the Edinburgh University Orienteering Club and I received a Blues Award for significant sporting achievement while studying at Edinburgh University.
In 2015 I was selected to represent GB at two rounds of the orienteering World Cup in Sweden and Switzerland. After graduating from university in summer 2015 I moved to Halden in Norway where I have been able to progress my orienteering skills in challenging nordic terrain and benefit from the world-class orienteering training environment available through my club Halden SK.
2016 has been a phenomenal year for me. I won the women's elite category of the JK international event which is the UK's premier annual orienteering competition. This helped me gain selection to compete for GB in the World Cup in Poland where I achieved 26th place in the middle-distance race, and the European Championships in Czech Republic where I achieved two top 30 results in the middle-distance and long-distance races. Following from my performances at these events, I was selected to make my debut at the World Orienteering Championships in Sweden - a dream that I had been aspiring to since I was growing up in the Ross and Cromarty area.
Best regards Jo Shepherd