McCafferty bids farewell to handball

06 August 2012 / 15:47

An emotional Lynn McCafferty called time on her handball career following Great Britain's exit from the Olympic Games and thanked the British public for making her swansong at London 2012 so special.

The 33-year-old skipper took to the court for the last time in Sunday's loss to Croatia, which ended her side's involvement in the women's competition but also marked the culmination of an amazing journey.

Formed in 2006 with the intention of competing at these Games, the women's squad have given their lives in pursuit of the Olympic dream, but none more so than McCafferty, who has lived away from her husband Gary for the last six years.

However, the sacrifices have all been worth it for Team GB as while their results have made difficult reading, they have been part of the handball craze that has spread in Britain and made the Copper Box one of the loudest venues of the Games.

"It was a typical British reaction, and that's why people love Britain," she said. "We have never won a thing for them and they still love us and we couldn't ask for anything else. It's what the Olympic spirit is all about and we have had the biggest sporting event of all to showcase handball in Britain.

"For them to come and sit here to watch us lose every game and still love it and still support us to the end is something they should all be proud of and we are grateful for it. We couldn't have done it without them."

For the last 18 months of the build-up to this summer, the women have been on a centralised programme based in Crystal Palace, but after retirement McCafferty will return to life in Scotland.

"I am very sad that it is the end of an era, but I am happy that it's a new start for British handball," she added tearfully. "I have so enjoyed the last six years, even the ups and downs. I feel so proud that I have represented my country at this sport, it is nothing to be sad about.

"It's just the end of a journey and there'll be the start of a new one and that's why I am crying. I am going to miss the girls, we have been through so much together and that is the part I am going to miss. But I've had my time, it's time for someone else to have a go.

"I have been waiting six years for this last game. I am absolutely devastated about not playing handball anymore, but I am also excited to see what happens in the future and I am so glad the team have played so well and we can build on handball."