This year could be very memorable for a Liverpudlian family, which already boasts excellent sporting success.
Natasha Jonas became world champion at the age of 37 in February as she beat Chris Namus to win the vacant WBO super welterweight title.
And this summer it’s the turn of his younger sister, Arsenal winger Nikita Parris, who is looking to bring football home with England at Women’s Euro 2022.
Before Jonas won his world title, it’s fair to say that Parris was much better known.
An impressive tally of five major trophies, as well as the Football Writers’ Association Women’s Footballer of the Year award in 2019, has made Parris one of the brightest sparks in women’s football in England.
All of these accolades were won when she was at Manchester City and Parris later moved to Lyon. The success continued in France as she won four trophies in her debut season, including the Women’s Champions League.
Parris made a return to the WSL last summer as Arsenal signed her for a record fee of £86,000. However, the 28-year-old struggled for time and scored just one league goal for the Gunners.
For perhaps the first time in what has been a fine playing career so far, things are far from set for Parris, who could turn to her sister – whose journey to the top has not not been simple – as a source of inspiration.
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She has previously spoken of being inspired by Jonas, who became the first British female boxer to compete in the Olympics.
“In 2012, I saw my sister compete in the Olympics,” Parris said after being selected to play for Team Britain’s women’s soccer team at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Seeing my sister in a GB team and then being selected in a GB team is huge. It’s a really great experience for us as sisters, us as a family.
“She really created a legacy by going to the Olympics in 2012. She was the first woman to step into the boxing ring for British women.
“I think it’s huge and she’s a real inspiration. At 36, she is still competing in professional boxing, in great shape and doing very well.
When asked if Jonas, now 38, had been able to give a lot of advice, Parris replied, “Yeah, a lot!”
Jonas is now a world champion, but on her way to that status she has encountered setbacks along the way.
A resounding loss to Katie Taylor shattered Jonas’ dream of a medal at London 2012, while the Irishwoman denied her the chance to become the WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF and The Ring Magazine lightweight world champion in 2021.
Parris made Sarina Wiegman’s squad for the upcoming final with some question marks surrounding her form, but an ability to put setbacks behind her like her sister did effectively means Parris can still be the key to the Lionesses’ pursuit of glory.
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