Sunday, June 23, 2024

Spanish hockey hopes for funding boost after Women’s World Cup history

By Richard Bright

From “scraping through” Hockey World League 2 in Valencia in 2013 to World Cup bronze, Spanish coach Adrian Lock hopes that his side’s brilliant success in London will bring in much-needed funding.

Spain played one their best games of recent memory to beat Australia 3-1 on Sunday to finish third and their best ever showing at the sport’s showpiece.

“We talked about the opportunity we had to do something that nobody had done before, we wanted to write our own history,” said Lock.

“It showed so much the passion and we took it to the Australians.”

Lock, assisted by fellow Englishman Andrew Wilson, has been head coach to the Spanish Red Sticks since 2013, but has been with several of the team for a decade due to his work with the under-21 side.

“If you asked me three months ago if playing for bronze would have been a good result then we have said yes. We have never won a medal,” added Lock.

“We’ve grown together as a team. I always thought it was in the offing to get this far. We sat down in 2013 as a squad and they decided as a team to qualify for the Olympics.

“We have got better in our mindset and training and that’s what pays off in the big games.”

Spain’s sports council minister was in attendance at the Olympic Park on Sunday as Spain trumped their fourth place finish at their own World Cup in 2006.

“I’m hoping for funding and hopefully it will convince him to fund our sport and all of Spanish hockey,” said a jubilant Lock.

In a football-obsessed nation, Spanish hockey has been helped along the way by Iberdrola, an energy company which supports women’s sport and also sponsors Spain’s domestic league.

“Companies are realising that women have a significantly more important place in society,” added Lock.

Not least with Spanish hockey, which continues to be amateur. Lock said: “We try to get to together in small groups and train two to three times per week.

“They train as full-time athletes, but without being paid.”

Lock has been based in Spain for 18 years. Asked whether he would return with aspirations of coaching the English team, Lock said: “I’m pretty happy in Spain. I feel like I’m part of Spanish hockey.

“I feel very English but I haven’t been connected for a while, my passion is with my team.”

The Hockey Paper’s World Cup coverage is supported by St. Bert’s Clothing – SUMMER SALE

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