Ipswich hockey trio named in Team GB’s Olympic cycle for Tokyo 2020
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Three of Ipswich’s finest hockey players have been selected by Great Britain as a new, four-year cycle, culminating with the Tokyo Olympics, begins.
Experienced male duo Harry Martin and George Pinner have been joined by Harry’s sister Hannah, the latter named in the women’s team that will look to retain the gold medal they won in spectacular fashion in Rio, last summer.
Despite being just 24, midfielder Harry Martin is a two-time Olympian, while goalkeeper Pinner featured heavily in Rio, having been an unused squad member at London 2012, when Great Britain finished fourth.
As for Hannah Martin, the 21-year-old midfielder is one of 15 new faces in the ladies’ team, joining 12 of the existing stars that were successful in South America.
Pinner, meanwhile, won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal, alongside Harry Martin, with England in 2014, but, as part of the Team GB squad, failed to build on that success in Brazil, Bobby Crutchley’s side going out at the pool stage.
“The over-riding feeling was disappointment, massive disappointment,” said Pinner, who plays for Holcombe in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
“There was a real sense of under-achievement, that we had not done ourselves justice.”
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Pinner and Harry Martin have been in a 27-man playing squad for the new Olympic cycle – a line-up that includes nine new faces.
So was Pinner ever worried that his place may be under threat?
“It’s a bit of a concern when you have under-achieved – will the coaching staff stay the same? Will the funding be cut? Will I get a place in the squad,” Pinner, who celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday, added.
“It is a nervous time for everyone but I always had a strong belief that I had a lot to offer the programme and now it is up to me to make the most of my selection.”
He added: “The girls were incredible in Rio, while the men have been very close to getting a medal at different tournaments.
“We hope to make further improvements during the next cycle and get in amongst the medals and not just finish fourth.
“There is lots to look forward to with the World Cup and Commonwealth Games next year, while we hope to make the podium at this year’s European Championships.
“All the new guys stepping in to the international squad are ready for senior hockey.”