Emotional Kerry salutes comeback stars

10 August 2012 / 23:05

Great Britain hockey coach Danny Kerry paid tribute to his players for bouncing back from semi-final heartbreak to win only the second Olympic women's bronze medal in history.

A narrow defeat to Argentina in the last four had left the squad devastated but less than 48 hours later they picked themselves up to beat New Zealand 3-1. Reading striker Alex Danson, Leicester defender Crista Cullen and Wales international Sarah Thomas put them into a comfortable lead before Stacey Michelsen's late consolation.

"I am going to have to work hard to hold it together," said a clearly emotional Kerry. "That is seven and a half years of my life so there is just a deep contentment."

He added: "I thought the girls were incredibly thorough and professional as I asked them to play in a particular way which does not suit us much but it was the best way to play against New Zealand.

"They were deserving winners. You hear people interviewed after winning medals - I haven't won a medal, the girls have won a medal - and they say 'You just keep coming back'.

"I think people who succeed in life are the people who keep coming back. After the semi-final it was a question of 'Could we get them back?' and I just knew we would be good to go. That comes from a lot of tough work, there is no shortcut for that."

Captain Kate Walsh, who missed two group matches after fracturing her jaw but returned to lead her side to third place, admitted it had been an eventful fortnight.

"It will take a few weeks before it sinks in. It has been a whirlwind two weeks," said the 32-year-old. "After the devastation of the semi-final - we came here to win a gold medal - that hurt a lot.

"But we have been here before and we just knew that come game day we would be absolutely on it and carry out Danny's briefing.

"It was a very surreal game: every second you were concentrating but I was also able to take a little step back now and again and think 'This is good'."