David Ralph has been appointed head coach of the women's elite development programme ©GB Hockey

Great Britain Hockey has announced David Ralph as the new head coach of its women's elite development programme.

Ralph is assistant coach of the British and English senior women's hockey teams and is set to remain in the position until the conclusion of the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

Simon Letchford has been appointed interim head coach of the elite development programme.

Ralph's spell with the senior women's team has resulted in medals at the EuroHockey Championships and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. 

He also held the same role for the Britain and England senior men's programme for four years. 

As a player, Ralph earned more than 100 caps for Scotland. 

"I am delighted to accept this role," he said.

"The development of our younger players is something that I am very passionate about and I believe I have the skills and experience to provide an exceptional training environment for them to achieve their potential. 

"I believe in our younger players and have very much seen their potential first hand with those who have joined the senior team in the last few years. 

"We have a challenge on our hands to help develop the players to emulate the success that the senior team has had and I very much look forward to that and working with a talented playing group and staff team."

Simon Letchford will be the interim head coach of the elite development programme until after Tokyo 2020 ©GB Hockey
Simon Letchford will be the interim head coach of the elite development programme until after Tokyo 2020 ©GB Hockey

Letchford worked for Great Britain Hockey as a coach developer in the 2000s and also coached a number of clubs in the English national league.

He moved to Belgium in 2012, most recently becoming head coach of the country's under-21 men's team. 

Letchford also spent four years as assistant coach to Belgium's senior women’s team and two as head coach of the women's under-21 squad.

"After eight years overseas I am delighted to be returning to the UK and am really excited at the prospect of re-joining Great Britain and England Hockey," Letchford said. 

"Being appointed head coach of the elite development programme is an honour and I look forward to helping individual athletes continue their personal development and transition from age group hockey players into senior athletes for Britain and their respective home nations. 

"I also welcome opportunity to prepare and lead the England under-21 squad into the Junior World Cup in South Africa next year."

GB Hockey’s head of elite talent development Heather Williams congratulated both Ralph and Letchford on their appointments. 

"I’m delighted that the head coach role has attracted outstanding coaches of the calibre of David and Simon and congratulations to both of them on their appointments," she said.