The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced today the 16 players who will represent Team GB in men’s hockey at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The men’s hockey squad has risen consistently up the world rankings since the Olympic Games were awarded to London back in 2005. At the time, they were ranked 11th in the world. Since then the players have demonstrated huge progress to reach their current world ranking of fourth.
At the last Olympics in Beijing Team GB narrowly missed out on a place in the semi finals and finished the tournament in fifth position. At London 2012 they will have their sights firmly fixed on reaching the medal matches at the Riverbank Arena in the Olympic Park.
The selected athletes are: name (age; hometown; current club):
There is no shortage of international experience in the squad selected today, which contains 12 members of the England team which won European gold for the first time in 2009, beating Germany in the final.
Many of the squad were also involved as England won silver at the 2010 Champions Trophy and bronze at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championship. For seven of the squad, however, London 2012 will be their first taste of the Olympic Games.
Team GB have won Olympic gold in men’s hockey three times; at the first two tournaments in 1908 and 1920, and most recently at the Seoul 1988 Games.
Doncaster-born Barry Middleton, 28, will captain the side. To date, he has made 96 appearances for Great Britain, making him the sixth-most capped player in the team’s history.
The London Games will be the fifth Olympics in which Head Coach Jason Lee has been involved. He competed twice as a player, at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996, and has led the squad as Head Coach into the last two Olympic campaigns at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
Team GB has been drawn in Pool A where they will face Australia, Spain, Pakistan, Argentina and South Africa. The top two ranked teams will progress to the semi-finals.
In preparation for the Games, the Team GB squad are scheduled to participate in a tri-nation event in Santander, Spain from July 14th-18th. There they will face their Spanish hosts – who won silver in Beijing – as well as eight-time Olympic champions India.
The addition of the men’s hockey players brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 362 across 29 sport disciplines: archery, athletics – marathon, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, cycling, diving, equestrian – dressage, equestrian – eventing, fencing, football – women, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, synchronised swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“I’m delighted to welcome such a talented and experienced group of men’s hockey players to Team GB for the London 2012 Olympics. The consistent progress that the squad has achieved since the last Olympic Games is really impressive and they now have a fantastic opportunity to contend for a medal at the Riverbank Arena this summer.
“Under Jason Lee’s leadership, the squad have developed a very fast, skilful and exciting brand of hockey, which has thrilled crowds and earned plaudits around the world over the last few years. We will continue to give Jason and his squad our full support in the vital final weeks prior to the Games to ensure they have every opportunity to perform to their full potential on the greatest sporting stage of all at the Olympics.
“I’m sure the players selected today will relish the opportunity to play in front of a vocal and supportive 16,000 strong home crowd at the Riverbank Arena, and the support could give Team GB that little bit of extra energy and inspiration needed to challenge for the medals.”
Barry Middleton, captain, said:
“It is a great honour to have been selected in Team GB for my third Olympic Games. I am very proud that I will have the chance to experience a home Olympics with the amazing support of the British crowd. We have an amazing group of guys who have put themselves through so much pain in search of a dream we all share. We will be giving our all to achieve this dream while providing a lot of excitement at the same time. I look forward to stepping on the pitch in London and hearing that Great British crowd getting behind us.”
Harry Martin said:
“It’s such an honour to be a part of Team GB. Although it hasn't completely sunk in yet, competing at a home Olympics is a once in a lifetime chance and I am very excited. I owe a lot of thanks to everyone who has supported me, especially my family, friends and sponsors. It has been a privilege to be part of such a strong training squad with such a dedicated coaching team. Those of us that have been fortunate enough to be selected will do everything to make the rest proud.”
Ashley Jackson said:
“I'm very happy to be selected for the Olympics. Ever since we played the Test Event in front of a home crowd it's been very exciting to imagine how great the home support will be this summer. It has been a long, long few years of training and many highs and lows during that period but I'm feeling very confident about our chances over the summer. We have a very talented group of players through 1 to 27 and it's a real shame that only 16 places are available.”
Goalkeeper James Fair said:
“I am really proud to be selected for Team GB, especially at home in front of a British crowd. After having the disappointment of being a travelling reserve for Beijing I am hoping to put that behind me and perform to my best. The team have worked extremely hard over the past four years and selection has been really tight - hopefully we can do something special for the guys not picked.”