Exclusive | By Rod Gilmour
Harry Martin, the Hampstead and GB midfielder, has revealed to The Hockey Paper that he struggled to cope after accidentally hitting team-mate Sam Ward in the face during GB’s Olympic qualifier win over Malaysia in November.
But the GB star, who is marking 10 years in the international game, says that Ward’s words of encouragement have helped him get over the “horrendous incident” which left the GB forward fighting to be fit for Tokyo 2020.
The GB players had two weeks off following the Olympics qualifiers, which Martin admitted was a “strange” time, especially as he tried to focus on training at Christmas.
He said: “I couldn’t look back on the qualifiers with any sense of accomplishment. I thought I was fine but we have such a strong psychology support and we talked through it that I hadn’t been myself and I was struggling.
“But Sam has made it so easy for me. I did struggle for a month. It was a horrendous incident and seeing what happened and can happen in our sport was very tough. But Wardy has continued to be so supportive.
“He has been amazingly positive and I’m so grateful for him. What I would say is don’t write him off! If anyone can come back from this it’s him and we can all use it as inspiration and how strong he is mentally and finding the bright side in a really s*** situation. I’m fine but I never really felt like I had a right not to be as he was the one going through it. But when you feel responsible it is tough.”
— The Hockey Paper (@TheHockeyPaper) January 31, 2020
Martin’s comments came after Ward revealed to The Hockey Paper that he had seen more of his team-mate than ever in the aftermath of the accident at Lee Valley.
Ward said: “He is such a good friend of mine and it upset me that he got upset! It was just a freak incident. I’ve never seen it as he hit it. It’s a strange thing. I’ve never once had annoyance at him. Accidents happen and Harry Martin is the nicest bloke in the world.
“We can laugh about it now. We just need him to perform at the top of his game as he’s a world class hockey player, so I just said ‘don’t ever worry about me just be yourself’.
“If he can do anything for me, it’s about performing in the world class manner that he does. That would make me proud and that’s how I see it.”