Maddie Hinch has her eyes set on defending Olympic gold next summer after it was announced that she will make her return to the Great Britain Hockey central programme in June.
The three-time FIH world goalkeeper of the year spent ten months away from the international set-up after last summer’s World Cup in London, plying her trade with Dutch domestic side Stichtsche.
But now, with the FIH Pro League set to enter its final stage of games this year, as well as an Olympic Games just over the horizon, the 30-year-old is raring to don the GB jersey once more.
“I am absolutely delighted to be back with the Great Britain Hockey programme,” she said.
“My time away has allowed me time to recharge, mentally and physically, and renew my ambitions in the game whilst continuing to play at the highest level of women’s club hockey over in the Netherlands.
"With that, I feel I’m in a great place to re-join the group and hope to be part of what is an incredibly important journey ahead.
“Should I be selected, I’m very excited about playing in the FIH Pro League in London – and to try to help the team as we look to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”
A vital cog in the gold-medal winning side in Rio, Hinch kept out all four penalties as GB sealed shootout glory against the Netherlands.
And, understandably, new women’s head coach Mark Hager is thrilled to welcome back a player of Hinch’s standing in the game, with GB set to face Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and New Zealand throughout a busy June.
"She is a world-class goalkeeper and I’m looking forward to working with her, as opposed to having to try to work out how to score past her,” he said.
“Having recently met with Maddie, she clearly has huge desire to be back, and it would seem that an extended break has been a great step for not only Maddie, but also the programme and the opportunity it has provided our other goalkeepers.
"We fully recognise her qualities, but at the same time our goalkeepers have done very well since I came in, so she will have to earn her place in the team on merit, and hopefully give us some tough decisions to make.”