Maddie Hinch has 2nd hockey gold in her sights
Maddie Hinch travels to Tokyo with the weight of expectation on her shoulders. The 32-year-old hockey goalkeeper was one of the stars of the Rio Olympics, helping the Great Britain women’s team win gold by saving 4 penalties at the climax of a heartstopping game against the hotly-favoured Netherlands squad.
Maddie admits her remarkable performance has raised the bar for Tokyo to an intimidating degree. She said, “I’ll be honest, I think it does make it harder. What happened in 2016 makes you think anything’s possible, but the last thing I need is to think I’ve got to repeat Rio. I’ve got to write my own story in Tokyo and to do that I have to take the games one at a time and live in the moment. I’ll just trust all the work that I’ve done for the past 5 years and what will be will be.”
One thing is certain: the motivation of the British women’s hockey team is stronger than ever despite the uncertainty that has surrounded the Tokyo Games. Maddie said, “We’re even more determined than last time because now we know what winning feels like. And it seems more achievable than ever because we’ve already been there and done it.”
The Netherlands team has a score to settle, of course, and the Dutch women arrive in Tokyo as favourites. But Maddie is certain a repeat of 2016 is possible. She said, “The Dutch are a big threat to everyone and in Rio we really annoyed them. They’re an incredibly talented side, but they are beatable. We have a huge respect for them, but we believe we can win.”
The British women’s hockey team have recently resumed their training at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in Berkshire, a world class facility that is supported by National Lottery players. Maddie said you, the players, deserve a special thanks, and added, “I don’t think people quite realise the importance of National Lottery funding for athletes. It allows us to commit everything we have – emotionally and physically – to our sport. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who buys a National Lottery ticket.”
Between 2013-2017 National Lottery players helped provide £337Million to support Britain’s top sportspeople. By playing The National Lottery you continue to help our athletes access the coaches and training facilities they need to be their best as well as allowing them to focus on their sport by covering travel and living expenses.
Asked to name 2 players in the British women’s hockey squad she thinks will make a big impact in Tokyo, Maddie names defender Anna Toman and forward Izzy Petter, who is just 20-years old. Maddie said, “Izzy has an incredibly bright future and I’m really excited to see how she handles the world stage and what she brings to the group.”
Maddie said the relatively young British squad is extremely “close knit” and the difficulties of training during the pandemic has only made them closer.
Games organisers announced recently that crowds in Tokyo would be capped at 50 percent of a venue’s capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people. But Maddie does not believe the smaller crowds will have a significant impact on the athletes.
She said, “For those of us who know what an Olympic game usually feels like, it will be a bit more challenging at first. But we’ve spent a year playing in front of almost no one so we’re quite used to it.”
She added, “We will focus on the job and that means it won’t be that different to any other Olympics. We want the hockey to do the talking.”
At the 1996 Olympic Games, Great Britain and Northern Ireland finished 36th in the medal table with one gold medal. Then in 1997 National Lottery funding for elite sport began. Since then, we have won 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals and in the last Games in Rio in 2016 we finished in 2nd place. All this is made possible by you, National Lottery players. When you play a little, you help our athletes a lot.
7th July 2021
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