London university student misses own graduation to train for World Cup
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A London University student has missed her own graduation ceremony in order to represent Guyana in a World Cup qualifier.
Hannah Baptiste, 25, flew out to South America this week to take part in a training camp as Guyana target this summer’s Women’s World Cup in France.
Baptiste will miss her graduation from Richmond, the American International University in London, which is due to take place today. after completing a degree in marketing communications and public relations.
The former Charlton Athletic, Fulham and AFC Wimbledon trainee told the London Evening Standard: “I haven’t played internationally since I was 16 because I’ve been busy with my studies.
“But my grandparents are from Guyana so I can qualify for their team.”
She has previously represented England in a four nations tournament in Northern Ireland at under 16 level.
Team coaches first invited Baptiste to a training camp after they were impressed by online footage of her playing football. Now she has been selected for three world cup qualifiers this month.
Allison Cole-Stutz, Dean of Students at Richmond, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Hannah to have been selected for trials by the Guyana national football team, we’re all incredibly proud of her [at the university] and wish her every success.”
Baptiste originally gained a scholarship to play football and study Psychology at St Andrews University in North Carolina in the United States, home to illustrious footballing alumni such as England’s and Lyon’s Lucy Bronze.
But, after missing her family in London, she transferred her credits to Richmond and began her marketing degree in 2016.