We want to be Britain's best women's team, declares Team GB hockey coach
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
August 15 - After claiming a memorable bronze medal, Britain's women's hockey coach Danny Kerry has set his sights on turning his squad into the "leading women's team" in the country.
Britain beat New Zealand 3-1 as they overcame the disappointment of a semi-final defeat to Argentina in style.
They had come into the tournament with hopes of a gold medal having competed on a par with the world's top two nations, the Netherlands and Argentina, during the rest of 2012.
But successive 2-1 defeats to both teams earlier this week ended those dreams, but the squad was still thrilled with a bronze medal.
Forward Alex Danson (pictured top, in red) today described it as "the proudest two weeks", whilst Laura Bartlett, who played her 50th international in the bronze medal play-off, said she was "constantly looking at the medal and thinking 'I can not believe it'".
"I am just chuffed to bits - look at this lot sat with medals around their necks," added Kerry.
"They have done themselves proud and you get what you deserve more often than not.
"They have worked so hard."
Kerry said he would continue to aim high with the team, who came close to winning the Champions Trophy for the first time in January.
"You should not narrow things with your vision," he said.
"You should be inspired by cycling and rowing – if you think small you will only ever achieve small.
"I think women's hockey can be and should be the premier team sport in the country.
"You have to have that kind of vision.
"I believe we can do it – it is a global sport with a lot of established teams but why not have the same ambition and desire?"
They have certainly made a good step in that direction, as of all the main team sports in the Olympics – basketball, football, handball, hockey, volleyball and water polo – women's hockey is the only one in which Britain has picked up a medal at London 2012.
The argument would surely be contested though by some of Britain's women rowers, such as Katherine Grainger, Anna Watkins, Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland, who claimed gold medals in disciplines they would describe as team rather than individual.
Whichever argument you take, women's hockey is on the up in Britain and one player who hopes to take the team forward to Rio is Helen Richardson, a skilful midfielder who told insidethegames she was relieved to finally get her hands on an Olympic medal at the third time of asking.
"I think I will take it one year at a time, I have been playing 13 years now and it has been a long career.
"If I could be in Rio that would be fantastic but I will take it one year at a time," Richardson said, echoing Kerry's comments that they wanted to aim even higher now ahead of the next Games in Rio in 2016.
"We have had a lot of practice at winning bronze medals and getting ourselves back up for it after semi-finals.
"The performance we put on in front of our home crowd is something special.
"Watching the final last night – we could have been there and won our game.
"We are definitely on a par with [Argentina and the Netherlands] I think – it is what we do now to continue with this.
"We want to be the best team in the world, that is our ambition now, be ranked number one and win those gold medals."
August 2012: Gold for orange as doughty Dutch douse Argentine fire to waltz off with hockey spoils
August 2012: Tears rather than silver or gold for GB's London 2012 women's hockey team
August 2012: No bad blood between us and Argentina, says GB women's hockey star Richardson