Great Britain have announced a 16 player squad for the London 2012 Olympic Games hockey tournament.
Beijing Olympians Simon and Richard Mantell and Richard Alexander are all absent, as is Mark Pearn, who came out of international retirement to try and make the London Games. Beeston’s Adam Dixon is another surprise omission.
Barry Middleton will captain the team in what will be his third Olympics. Harry Martin, 19, will be the youngest member of the side.
Coach Jason Lee said that when he heard that London was to host the 2012 Games it was an “Oh shit” moment. “Really for seven years most of what we have been doing has targeted this event,” he continued. Over that seven years the strength and depth of the player group had been increased.
The only player from the 27-strong training squad not fit enough to be considered for selection was Simon Mantell, broken foot.
“I really like the guys who aren’t here and actually quite like most of the ones who are,” Lee continued in jolly mood. “What I am very proud of is that, over the past six weeks or so, as players found out whether they were to be part of the squad, even if it was very bad news for the players that weren’t selected, they were telling me they knew it was a difficult decision. And then, very quickly after – after a couple of days to assimilate the information – they came back wanting to know what to do next. For some of them there might still be an opportunity because hockey does have injury problems inherent in the game.”
Team GB captain Barry Middleton, who also played in the Athens and Beijing Games, said this Olympic cycle had been different as the team had been together longer rather than just forming as GB in the year before the Games and having to qualify. “For two or three years we have been a group who goes to tournaments believing we can win. It has been a special place to be when you are in a team like that,” he said.
In preparation for the Games, the Team GB squad are scheduled to participate in a tri-nation event in Santander, Spain from July 14-18. There they will face their Spanish hosts – who won silver in Beijing – as well as eight-time Olympic champions India.
The full GB hockey 16-player squad is: (age; hometown; club): Nicholas Catlin (23; Marlow, Bucks; Reading), Jonathan Clarke (31; Southend-on-Sea, Essex; Reading) Matthew Daly (28; Surbiton, Greater London; Surbiton), James Fair (31; Chester, Cheshire; Cannock), Daniel Fox (29; Godalming, Surrey; Hampstead & Westminster), Ben Hawes (31; Lewes, East Sussex; Wimbledon), Ashley Jackson (24; Tunbridge Wells, Kent; East Grinstead), Glenn Kirkham (29; Chelmsford; East Grinstead), Iain Lewers (28; Belfast, Northern Ireland; East Grinstead), Iain Mackay (27; Braintree, Essex; Reading), Harry Martin (19; Ipswich, Suffolk; Old Loughtonians), Barry Middleton (28; Doncaster, South Yorkshire; East Grinstead), Robert Moore (31; Winchester, Hampshire; Surbiton), Richard Smith (24; Portsmouth, Hampshire; Loughborough Students), James Tindall (29; Virginia Water, Surrey; Surbiton), Alastair Wilson (28; Sheffield, South Yorkshire; Beeston)
The two reserves will be announced later.