Team GB sprinter Asha Philip surprised her family with Home Support prints, to thank them for their unwavering love and support. We chatted to Asha about her Olympic dreams and the importance of support from home.
Describe the support you get from your family.
My mother and her two sisters, they’re my home support. They’re my team and they travel with me to most of my races and competitions. My family is so close. We spend so much time together. They are spontaneous, lovable and over the top with their support.
When I finished university, my mother said that she would support me financially for the next couple of years. She believed in me that much that she would basically fund me.
In 2007 when I had my injury it was probably one of the worst times of my life. It was extremely hard, and I think that’s when I realised my family are my ride or die. They supported me throughout all of that and even then, my mum was still willing to support me financially. They’ve seen the struggle; I’ll go and speak to them if I’m finding something hard in training or struggling mentally or physically.
To have the support of my whole family is a good feeling. I’ve been brought up on love and support. They are my number one fans.
Are your family into sport too?
My family have always played a part in my sport. Since me, my siblings and my cousins were young, they’ve always pushed us. They fell in love with sport, and they wanted their children to do it so we, by force, had no choice but to do tap, ballet, jazz, football, swimming, everything! We did something every day of the week and they were supportive every step of the way. They wanted to travel the world and they always encouraged us.
My mum was a trampoline coach, and my family all love netball. My brother came third in the world at trampolining, my cousins played netball for England, and my mum still plays netball.
What does it feel like to have your family in the crowd?
Knowing that they’re there, that they’ve travelled all that way to come and support little old me, it’s a nice feeling. It’s nice to just be able to turn my head into the crowd and give them a little wave.
It's clear that you have a close relationship with your family.
My family are my best friends. They’re who I call when I’m upset or happy - they get every single emotion. I love that we’re close, and I hope that’ll be the same with my future kids.
I can say ‘guys I need something’ and they’ll be there.
What do you think of the Purplebricks Home Support campaign and artwork?
I chose to surprise my mother and her two sisters and give them the artwork because they are my rocks.
I feel like this has come at a really good time and now they’ll look at the artwork and think of me and all the good times we’ve had together. To have it in their house, a piece of me, a piece of the Olympics and Team GB will mean a lot to them.
It’s a lovely campaign because we’re going to go out to Tokyo without our family. Most athletes usually have people there to support them, so to have a campaign like this is quite heart-warming and it means a lot. Even though my family can’t go to Tokyo I know they’ll be calling and messaging me 24/7.
Who did you cheer on when you were younger?
Christine Ohuruogu is like a big sister now. Watching her compete and train and getting to know her as a person was just incredible. She’s beautiful inside and out and her determination is through the roof. If I can take anything from her that’ll be great for me.
Why is it important to receive support in Tokyo?
It’s quite daunting when you’re in a foreign country so it’s always nice to see a British flag in the crowd. British fans are the best. They support everyone and they’re just the loudest and to know that they’re not going to be there is heart-breaking. That’s what I’ll miss at this year’s Games.
It’s going to be one of the toughest competitions yet but one of the greatest too. Having videos and lovely messages from home will be touching. I want to come back with a big smile on my face and know we’ve done our country and our families proud.
How did you feel when the Games were postponed?
I maybe wasn’t ready for Tokyo last year, so it gave me extra time to train and prepare. I’m feeling good, I’m in the strongest shape I’ve ever been. I’m lifting personal bests and my coach is smiling and happy which makes me feel good. Spending last summer with my family was great too, that was a bonus.
What does it feel like to be going to your second Olympics?
I love the Olympics. I’ve got some good friends from the Games, it’s what everyone talks about, and the whole world is going to be watching. I am really looking forward to it, it’s another chance to create more amazing memories.
What are your goals for Tokyo?
The hard work’s done, it’s just about going out there and performing at our best and encouraging each other to just keep pushing on.
My aim is to go for the individual and the relay event. For the individual, I want to make an Olympic final. For me to say I’d made an Olympic final around my personal best, that would be amazing.
For the relay event, we really want a gold. That would change our lives forever. I remember crossing the line in Rio, it didn’t even dawn on me that we’d got a medal. Desiree was just crying, and I didn’t know why! When it came out in the press it was different and honestly, we’ll forever have that bond and talk about that moment for years to come.
We’ve worked hard and we know what we’re capable of. We want to go for another medal there, we want to keep our streak and keep succeeding.