Hockey star Mantell hopeful on fitness

14 June 2012 / 00:01

Great Britain hockey forward Simon Mantell is confident he is on track in his race to be fit for this summer's Olympics.

The 28-year-old fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot at the London 2012 test event last month. After an operation to have the bones pinned the Reading forward's rehabilitation programme has gone to schedule and he remains hopeful of being named in Jason Lee's squad in a fortnight.

"The foot is getting there. It is nearly five weeks post-operation so I'm off my crutches and I am just starting to build up how much weight I put through it," he said. "It is as good as it could be in the circumstances. Hopefully I should be running in the next couple of weeks and back playing in three."

He went on: "There is no set date where I need to be fit by. I just have to do everything I can and not worry too much about hitting a date because with these sort of injuries you can push it and then it breaks down later on.

"I want to make sure once I am fit and the foot is solid again and everything will be okay and there won't be problems later on."

Mantell now sports matching metatarsal pins having been sent home from the 2010 World Cup after breaking a bone in his right foot. While that was a blow, the disappointment of missing a home Olympics would be much greater.

"I found it very tough, especially initially," added Mantell, whose injury occurred when he was caught by an India player's stick in the final minute of their group match at the Riverbank Arena.

"When you have been working towards something for so long to get a setback like this is difficult to take but I am just trying to stay positive about it. If it had happened last week there would be no chance of me playing."

Mantell made his Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago but the team have progressed massively since finishing fifth, which was Britain's highest placing since the gold medal winners 20 years previously.

Subsequently they have won a maiden European Championship title and consistently competed for medals at world-level events and that is partly due to the changes introduced by Lee.