Britain's hockey boys of 1988 to mark 25th anniversary of Seoul gold
Saturday, 12 October 2013
October 12 - The players who earned Britain the Olympic hockey title at Seoul 1988 will mark their achievement tonight as they stage a 25th anniversary gala reunion dinner at a London hotel.
Among them will be David Faulkner, left back during the glorious Olympic run in South Korea, who is now director of sport at Millfield School having stepped down from his role as Team GB's performance director for hockey, a role he filled from 2005 until the end of the London 2012 Games, where Britain's men finished fourth and the women won bronze.
By the time he retired from playing Faulkner, now 50, had won 225 caps for England and Great Britain, and he is looking forward to his latest get-together with the boys of 1988, who beat World Cup winners Australia 3-2 in the semi-final before defeating Germany 3-1 in the gold medal match.
"We played hockey at our 20-year reunion - but I don't think we'll be doing that this time round!" he told insidethegames.
"We will just enjoy each others' company.
"That was one of the best things about the group.
"We had so much fun off the pitch.
"And we all share something now that was a lifetime achievement."
Also present with their gold medals will be Ulster's Stephen Martin - now chief executive of the Olympic Council of Ireland - and Jimmy Kirkwood, the province's only Olympic champions other than Robin Dixon and Mary Peters.
"It was a special time for GB hockey and indeed it took another 25 years before they seriously competed for another medal [at the London 2012 Olympics]," Martin told the Belfast Telegraph.
Britain's 1984 Olympic bronze medallists have also been invited.
"You wondered did it really happen," Kirkwood added.
"You felt likes a different person on the podium but it was hugely exciting and very special.
"And then there was the tremendous receptions when we arrived home at the airport in London and again in Belfast."
Many of the Seoul 1988 hockey champions have retained an active link with the sport.
Richard Leman is GB Hockey President; Russell Garcia has coached in Spain and Holland; Seoul top scorer Sean Kerly - now a 53-year-old grandfather - plays regularly for Canterbury's sixth string as well as being called upon as an expert during televised major hockey tournaments; and Imran Sherwani can be seen at Cannock where his three sons play regularly.
Click here for the Big Read interview with David Faulkner.
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September 2012: Faulkner to step down from Great Britain and England Hockey posts