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Rachel Riley sparks fan reaction with never-before-seen school photo

The Countdown presenter looks unrecognisable

rachel riley
Sharnaz Shahid
Sharnaz ShahidDeputy Online Editor
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Rachel Riley's fans had to do a double-take when she shared a never-before-seen throwback photo from her days on the running track.

The Countdown host, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev, is leading a new campaign to empower girls to get involved in sport to help build confidence for their adult lives.

READ: Rachel Riley confirms exciting news regarding husband Pasha Kovalev

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Alongside the heartfelt post, she wrote: "I'm delighted to announce that I'm partnering with Always to help fuel girls' futures! I played so many different sports when I was at school, and I believe that it has many unexpected benefits.

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"And as someone who reaped the rewards of staying in sports when I was at school, I really want to make sure that girls are encouraged to do the same."

Fans of the star applaud her latest work, with one writing: "Congratulations Rachel much love and support always." Another remarked: "Great initiative, well done!" Others were surprised to see Rachel with shorter hair as one wrote: "Love your hair there!" A fourth post read: "From athlete to mathlete."

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Rachel uploaded this snap from her school days

The campaign is hoping to encourage girls to stay in sports because the benefits of their participation go far beyond the field or court. Sadly 1 in 3 girls drop out of sports during puberty, with 28 per cent admitting it's because they don’t think they’re good enough.

MORE: Rachel Riley breaks silence over new Countdown host update

Rachel said in a statement: "I played so many different sports at school, from hurdles to football and the skills I learnt helped me in so many ways. The biggest impact sport had was on my confidence, especially as a teen – it taught me to be more vocal and encouraged me to take the lead and this is something that has stayed with me in my adult life."

She added: "I'm really passionate about this partnership with Always because I believe that playing sport has many unexpected benefits, including being able to build relationships with team members, improving communication skills and most of all, it really boosts confidence."

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