Clare-based teacher Ed Pickerin wins England gold at European Dodgeball championships
A 27-year-old teacher at Samuel Ward Academy is basking in the glow of a European title, having helped the England Lions dodgeball squad to the gold medal.
Clare’s Ed Pickerin, a PE and geography teacher at the Haverhill school, was part of the victorious national dodgeball squad at the annual European tournament in Lignano, Italy at the end of October.
In a competition that saw 18 nations compete for European dodgeball supremacy, England overcame the current world champions Austria by 20-10 in the final to claim gold.
The result also sees England men retain their season-ending number one ranking in the sport for at least a third successive year.
And the men’s side were not alone in celebrating success after England also achieved gold in the mixed tournament and a silver in the women’s.
Pickerin admitted the disappointment of coming fourth in the last World Cup spurred the side on.
He said: “Whenever we play in a major tournament, the gold medal is always the aim.
“We have high expectations – something we feel we have earned – so coming fourth was a big disappointment.
“We didn’t want to feel like that again so we used it to our advantage.
“We had a fantastic set of results and it was a really successful tournament for all three England sides.”
It was the first time the England Lions team had been back in action since that disappointing result, which Pickerin himself missed out on as he worked to return to full fitness following a lengthy injury lay-off.
He suffered ankle ligament damage in December 2017 and narrowly missed out on national World Cup selection as a result.
Pickerin is a big name in the sport locally and is chairman of the East Anglia Vikings, a team that entered into its first season in the Men’s Super League in 2017/18.
The club, based in Newmarket, currently lie sixth in the 2018/19 season after two fixtures – having won one and lost one.
Pickerin started dodgeball in 2010 as part of a social activity when he first arrived at the University of Bedfordshire.
But he soon developed a passion and real talent for the game and broke through the England trials after just a year.
He is now an experienced England player and was part of the national team to win the inaugural World Cup in 2016 in Manchester. He has also been integral to the growth of the sport locally as a founding member of the Vikings club.
Asked what his students think of his achievements, Pickerin said: “I think some of them think it is great and I really want to use it to get more people involved.”
With dodgeball now recognised as a sport by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), Pickerin has said he hopes to one day see it at the Olympics, with his students as potential players.