BEACH volleyball star Yasmin Kaashoek has written her name in the history books this summer – and there’s more on the horizon for the Poulshot athlete.

Kaashoek returned from the Youth Commonwealth Games in The Bahamas, where she and partner Ellie Austin became the first pair to represent Team England at the multi-sport event.

After finishing in a respectable fifth and missing out on making the semi-finals after losing a pulsating third set by three points to New Zealand, Kaashoek has singled out her junior Commonwealth debut on the sand as the highlight of her career so far.

“It was a really good experience and such a cool environment where we made new friends,” said the 18-year-old, who moved Bournemouth to pursue the sport four years ago.

“Every evening we went to watch boxing, swimming and athletics because they were within walking distance to the soccer stadium where the volleyball was held and we were keen to support the other England athletes.’’ “We see volleyballers all the time – the volleyball community compared to other sports – is quite small, so meeting other athletes from sports such as rugby, athletics and judo really opened my eyes to how much young talent there is coming through.”

The LeAF Studio School pupil believes her and Austin could have gone all the way, had it not been for tournament’s seeding policy.

“We played really well, but we felt the tournament let us down in terms of how it was organised,” she added. “We went into the competition on a high ranking and thought we would be seeded on our ranking points – but the organisers decided that all the teams would be unseeded, which didn’t work in our favour as we had to face Australia – one of the tougher teams – in our pool.

“We even went out to Miami for a training camp a week before to acclimatise to the conditions – it was very humid out there and some athletes who arrived a day before struggled to adjust.

“It was a shame to not come away with a medal, because we felt we were good enough to finish on the podium.’’ “Even the Australian and New Zealand coach said to us we should have been in the final. It was a difficult one, but it was a still a great opportunity to represent Team England for the first time.”

While her first taste of Commonwealth experience might have been somewhat bitter-sweet, there is no doubt that Kaashoek – who receives vital support through the SSE Next Generation programme – has a bright future ahead.

Kaashoek – who made her international debut for England at indoor volleyball as a 12-year-old – is now hoping to pursue a career as an officer in the RAF, where she has a little more than just volleyball on her mind.

“With the RAF, there’s so many opportunities to do more sports. You find a lot of people who go into the RAF having always played one sport, such as rugby, and end up becoming a champion rower,” she concluded.

“I’m definitely keeping an open mind. If someone approaches me and says, ‘I can turn you into an Olympic rower,’ then I’m not going to say no, I’m going to be keeping my options open.”

Since 2013, SSE is proud to make a difference to young people, their families and their communities, by investing in the future of sporting talent through the SSE Next Generation scheme. Keep up to date @YourSSE