WELSH STARS ASSIST GB TO QUALIFY FOR THE OLYMPICS
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Great Britain’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have qualified for the Olympics following four matches on home turf at Lee Valley.
Great Britain’s men’s team won 4-1 against Malaysia in the first leg of their journey to qualifying for the Olympics on Saturday and continued their success as the men secured an aggregate score line of 9-3 by the final whistle on Sunday which saw them through to Tokyo 2020.
Whilst thrilled of the win, Draper, who now has 49 caps under his belt (45 WAL, 4 GBR), is already thinking about the next training phase..
Going into Sunday knowing we were only half way there, we knew we would have to stick to the same game plan in order to get the same result. Malaysia did make it hard though with a high press that put us under huge amounts of pressure. After being 0-1 down at half time we showed some good character by responding with 5 goals in the second half. I’m happy we all showed some quality fight in us to get through those bad patches and finally get the win and Olympic qualification. It was amazing contributing to the qualification for Tokyo 2020. Now the hard work starts to ensure we’re in the best place possible when we get on that plane.
Wales captain, Leah Wilkinson, also wore the blue and white stripes over the weekend, as she represented GB against Chile in two Olympic Qualifier matches. Following goals from Howard and Unsworth, the GB women beat Chile in a 2-1 defeat in their second match on Sunday, creating an overall aggregate win of 5-1 to GB.
Following their Olympic gold in 2016, GB women will now look to defend their title in Japan next year.
Leah spoke about the feeling of qualifying for the Olympics:
I am so thrilled that both GB women’s and men’s teams have secured spots at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Personally, this weekend was full of different emotions, a mixture between nerves, excitement and pride! Leading up to the Olympic Qualifiers I certainly felt nervous but as I started to play those nerves settled and I was able to enjoy being on the pitch with the team and take in the amazing atmosphere. Once the whistle went I felt both relief and a sense of pride! I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to represent GB and be part of the team that helped the women qualify. The whole experience is certainly one I will never forget.