Lottie Laidler and her Coventry Cougar team.

An Isle of Wight woman is celebrating success after her team became UK national champions in a new sport based on American Football.

23-year-old Lottie Laidler, from Ryde, is part of the successful Coventry Cougars team, which beat the Sheffield Giants 67-12 in a thrilling final.

Flag football is a version of American football where instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team removes a flag from the person carrying the ball.

Lottie started playing the sport when she was at university in Sheffield and progressed through the sport to secure a place in the Coventry Cougars team.

As well as being highly ranked in the UK, the team is also well established within Europe.

Lottie said:

“I am so proud that we are national champions, our team has worked so hard this season so it is wonderful that all the training has paid off!

“I really enjoy playing with the Coventry Cougars and this wouldn’t be possible without the support I receive from Wightlink through the Talented Athlete scheme, who help me with my weekly travel to training, matches and competitions on the mainland.

“Looking ahead, I am working hard to develop my game and improve as a player to retain my position on the GB flag football squad – a sport I hope one day will make it into the Olympics.”

Lottie fits training in around her work with First Act, a disabled theatre group and as a personal care assistant.

She also works part-time as a gym instructor for 1Leisure.

Lottie gets support from the Isle of Wight Council and Wightlink as part of the Talented Athlete scheme, providing discounted cross-Solent travel for mainland events and training.

Wightlink CEO Keith Greenfield said:

“Congratulations to Lottie, who is clearly a very dedicated sportswoman who we are delighted to support with cross-Solent travel through the Talented Athlete scheme.”