THE Paris Olympics get underway in just a fortnight, and Keighley speedster Ellie Kildunne will be there for the first time as part of Great Britain’s rugby union sevens side.

It is a dream come true for the Six Nations-winning full back, who admits seeing the sport and the surrounding excitement for it when it made its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 inspired her to compete at the Games one day.

Kildunne is a key part of the England XV these days, who will be desperate to win next year’s Women’s World Cup on home soil next summer.

England heartbreakingly lost the last showpiece in 2021, going down 34-31 to New Zealand despite Kildunne putting her country in front with a third-minute try.

But the Keighley ace’s international focus this summer is on sevens rugby and Team GB.

Given her rapid speed, it is no surprise that Kildunne has a history in Sevens, being a key part of the England team in that format between 2018 and 2020.

However, when she signed for Wasps four years ago, she committed her immediate future to the 15-a-side game, ruling her out of contention for the Tokyo Olympics.

That adds extra excitement for her over heading to Paris this month, having had to make that difficult decision four years ago.

Speaking to the Premiership Women’s Rugby website, Kildunne, who works closely with fashion brands and dabbles in amateur photography outside of the game, said: “Of course, I watched the Olympics growing up as everyone else does.

"But I remember when at Rio 2016 when the rugby sevens was first announced as a sport, I found a video on YouTube that was the girls getting kitted out before Rio.

“I watched that video every single day because it felt like I was there with them.

"Sure the Games are cool, but seeing the life outside of it really inspired another side of me.

"I think that really inspired the creative side of me as well, seeing life in a new angle."

Kildunne and her England XV team-mate Meg Jones were both part of the GB squad for the Madrid Sevens tournament that took place last month.

Ellie Kildunne (above) and Meg Jones were a key part of the England backline that stormed to this year's Six Nations title, and now they are going for gold together at the Olympics.Ellie Kildunne (above) and Meg Jones were a key part of the England backline that stormed to this year's Six Nations title, and now they are going for gold together at the Olympics. (Image: PA.)

Jones has even more experience in sevens than Kildunne, having won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2018, before co-captaining GB to fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics.

But neither have played sevens for a few years, so the Madrid tournament acted as something of a practice run to get them back in tune with the format.

Britain bowed out at the pool stage, after narrow defeats to Canada and the USA, and will be hoping for a better showing in Paris.

Speaking to the England Rugby website ahead of the tournament, Kildunne had said: "Joining up with the GB sevens squad is an incredible honour and an exciting opportunity to test myself with a new group of players.

“I’m grateful to Harlequins (her club in the 15-a-side game) for allowing me to take this opportunity.

“I’m already excited to be back with the group next season and can’t wait to support them for the rest of this campaign."