World Cup to play its part in a year of celebration

St Helens’ Women’s star and World Cup Ambassador Jodie Cunningham has said the World Cup can play its part in what promises to be a big year of sport in 2021.
The Coronavirus pandemic has already seen the Tokyo Olympics and football’s European Championships postponed to next summer, and Cunningham believes the excitement generated by both those events can have a positive effect on the major Rugby League event a matter of months later.
A handful of the matches in the football tournament were due to be held across the UK, but the World Cup will be one event held solely on home soil.
Despite the lockdown, preparations for the tournament are still underway and Cunningham believes sport can play a big role in getting the country back to a sense of normality following the Covid-19 crisis.
“Some people might see it as a negative and that we might be overshadowed by the Olympics next year, but we definitely see it as a positive,” 28-year-old Cunningham told League Express.
“With that and the Football Euros in the summer and us starting in October, 2021 is going to be a huge year of sport
“I watch an I’ve played a lot of different sports and I don’t think I realised just how much I love sport until it’s all be taken away from me.
“Across social media and the media you can see how much people are missing live sport and the entertainment and excitement of it.
“The Olympics are not in England and not many people are going to get the chance to go and see it, so off the back of all that excitement, to then have our own World Cup that people can get to and experience live will be brilliant. We will ride that wave of excitement going into October next year and have a brilliant World Cup that everyone can see.
“As a World Cup team we’re still able to work from home and carry on as normally as we can. But the senior leadership are having to reschedule some of the work we had planned for this year so that the current situation has minimal impact on the World Cup.
“We’re lucky that the tournament isn’t meant to be this year and for us it’s about maximising every opportunity we have now to shout about it.
“Some things have had to be pushed back, but there are other things that are appropriate to put out and shout about now, like a lot of the great work we’re doing around mental fitness.
“We are confident coming out of the this that sport is going to be a great way of coming together and people are going to want to celebrate.
“Hopefully the World Cup will be a great opportunity to come together and celebrate a brilliant sporting event.”