No time to think about Rio, says McCallin
Hockey

No time to think about Rio, says McCallin

01 November 2019 / 15:56
Shona McCallin is refusing to think about Rio ahead of Great Britain's last-chance Olympic qualifiers at Lee Valley this weekend.

The Olympic champions face world number 18 side Chile in the two-legged qualifier in London while the men play Malaysia, with their place at Tokyo 2020 also on the line.

For both the women’s and men’s qualifying play-offs, the team with the highest aggregate score across the two ties will qualify for next year’s Olympic Games, while the loser will miss out.

The pressure is high for both sides to qualify but according to Rio gold medallist McCallin, the women’s team will not be thinking about anything other than this weekend at Lee Valley.

“For me this weekend has nothing to do with Rio, it’s just about beating Chile,” she said.

“I try not to think about the result from Rio too much because it scares me a bit and you can get a bit overwhelmed thinking about it.

“I don’t really look too far in front either, currently it's all about beating Chile. When that hopefully happens, my focus will be all about getting myself into the 15 and then there's loads of other tournaments before the Olympics.

“Obviously I would love to go to another Olympics, it's why we all play. The Olympics is the most prestigious competition, but it’s too far in the future to dream and think about right now. Currently it's all about Chile. It's all about this weekend, and then we will look to next year.”

Men’s forward Sam Ward, who was part of the side who failed to make it out of the group stages in Rio, is trying to block out all memory of the disappointing 2016 campaign ahead of this weekend and, like McCallin, wants to start at Lee Valley on a clean slate.

“Obviously I went to Rio where it didn’t go very well, which makes it difficult for me personally to think about an Olympic Games,” he said.

“The first job is to qualify. We didn’t perform to the best of our ability in Rio and that is something you just have to do in the big moment.

“We have been working on making sure we understand how to deal with the pressure of big games and going out there and putting on the performance whatever the scenario.

“I think we’ve got a fantastic team at the moment with lots of youth who will be gaining plenty of experience over the next year.

“Obviously it’s a big benefit being at home this weekend and I think the home support will really help us.”