Rugby

Tokyo 2020: Megan Jones and Celia Quansah on rugby, their relationship and Olympic selection

Looking at Megan Jones and Celia Quansah’s Instagram accounts, at times they seem to be a couple like any other.

Except, of course, the photos of them drinking cocktails in the sun, out for dinner or a walk in the park are occasionally interspersed with intense gym sessions and Team GB photo shoots.

Because, unlike your average couple, the pair are preparing to represent Great Britain in sevens at the Olympic Games.

Jones, 24, and Quansah, 25, have also played XV-a-side together, representing Wasps in the Premier 15s league, and say how useful it is to have someone who knows you so well on the pitch.

But on the day of the GB squad announcement, nerves were high as they waited at home for an email that would tell them if one or both had been selected.

Jones describes how Quansah was unpacking a bag, something the latter says she was doing in “more detail” than she had ever done before.

“I was like, ‘just chill out for a bit’,” Jones jokes. “And she was like, ‘no I need to occupy my mind’.”

In the end, it was Quansah’s email that arrived first with Jones, who was eventually named as co-captain alongside Abbie Brown, enduring a nervous five-minute wait before she received her message.

“I wanted to be like ‘oh my god’ and I couldn’t because Meg hadn’t seen the squad yet,” Quansah tells BBC Sport. “It was funny.”

Meg Jones (left) and Celia Quansah (right) continued training together during lockdown in 2020

‘We are true to who we are’ – Jones

Both players say it will be “very special” to run out in Tokyo Stadium and the moment will be even more significant given there was a time when both Great Britain teams were unsure they would make it to the Games.

Players were left jobless when the Rugby Football Union cut funding in July 2020, before National Lottery support was secured to send the sides to Tokyo.

Great Britain have been placed in Pool A of the women’s competition, where they will face World Cup Sevens and World Series title holders New Zealand as well as the Russian Olympic Committee team and Kenya.

Jones – who won the Six Nations with England in April – will be going to her second Olympics, having been part of the squad as a travelling reserve in Rio, where GB lost to Canada in the bronze medal match.

They are not the first same-sex couple to compete together at a Games and Jones says seeing hockey players Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh win gold together in Rio gave them “confidence”.

As they have begun to discuss their relationship and rugby more this year, Jones and Quansah have realised the importance of sharing their experience.

“We never spoke out about it initially but when we did the response was incredible,” says Quansah.

“Everyone was like this is amazing, you’re helping so many people by doing this.

“We didn’t even think about it before. If we can help one person feel like they can be themselves, it just makes you want to do it more.”

That is why, as well as telling the story of their rise to become Olympic athletes, Jones and Quansah’s Instagram accounts also track the evolution of their relationship.

“There was never a thing of vocalising coming out,” Jones explains.

“What we’re about is being authentic and true to who we are. You get heterosexual couples posting photos of each other on social media.

“All we’re doing is sharing our life on Instagram. It was never to be like ‘this is for the community’ but naturally it becomes like that anyway.

“We’re very proud and it helps that we’re both vocal about it. Speaking about things normalises it – it’s as simple as that.”

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