Injured stars picked for GB women's Olympic hockey team
Friday, 18 May 2012
May 18 - Britain's women's hockey squad for the Olympic Games has been announced today, with stars Alex Danson (pictured in white) and Crista Cullen among the 16 picked despite picking up injuries at the recent London 2012 test event.
Cullen, a prolific goalscorer from penalty corners, was injured during the victory over Argentina in the final of that tournament earlier this month, but was today confirmed as one of coach Danny Kerry's selection.
Despite suffering a shoulder ailment in the same tournament, Danson, one of the world's most dangerous forwards, was also picked.
Injuries mean that both will miss the Investec Cup in Chiswick next month.
That competition is the squad's last before the Olympics, where they will take on some of the world's top teams, including world number one, the Netherlands, and Germany, ranked third.
Captain Kate Walsh said: "I feel very honoured and privileged to have been selected to represent our squad at the London Olympic Games.
"We have progressed so far as a group over the last few years and I am looking forward to giving it everything we've got in front of a jubilant home crowd."
Others called up include Helen Richardson, a skilful attacker, and Georgie Twigg, another threat from penalty corners.
Ashleigh Ball, Laura Bartlett, Hannah Macleod, Emily Maguire, Anne Panter, Chloe Rogers, Beth Storry, Sarah Thomas, Laura Unsworth, Nicola White and Sally Walton were also selected.
Natalie Seymour and Abi Walker were nominated by Kerry as the two reserve athletes.
Though they only finished sixth in Beijing four years' ago, Kerry's squad will be confident challenging for a top three finish or better after an impressive start to the year.
The victory over Argentina (pictured below) in the Olympic test event came four months after they had lost to the same opponents in the final of the Champions Trophy in Rósario, when they were the hosts.
That was Britain's best ever finish at the tournament, and Kerry said today that he had faced a particularly difficult decision over who to take to London.
"Words cannot describe how difficult it has been to make the final decision in selecting this squad," he said.
"We have chosen what we feel is the best combination of players for the challenges of the Olympic Games.
"Each and every one of the 28 athletes in the training group has committed so much and as a result we have the most powerful squad spirit I have ever known.
"I want to offer my congratulations to those that have been selected who I know will do our squad proud in London.
"I also want to offer my most heartfelt commiserations to those who have not been selected – they have given everything."
The team's nomination was confirmed by the British Olympic Association (BOA), and the Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: "On this historic day for the British Olympic Movement, as the Olympic Flame arrives in the UK, I am delighted to welcome the women's hockey squad as officially selected members of Team GB for London 2012.
"The progress made by the women's hockey team over the last six years has been outstanding.
"They have consistently medalled at major international championships over the last two years and are ranked fourth in the world.
"With victory in the recent test event, the team demonstrated their capability to beat the best sides in the world and compete for the Olympic medal podium this summer."
The selection of the hockey squad now takes the total number of Team GB athletes confirmed for London 2012 past the 100 mark.
May 2012: GB win in women's hockey test event overshadowed by injuries to Cullen and Danson