TOKYO — Black Sticks women are ready to usurp their semi-final hoodoo should they reach the crunch end of the Olympics in two weeks time.
After finishing last at the 2008 Olympics, New Zealand have reached the semi-finals in each of the last two Games only to be beaten by Holland and Great Britain respectively, and then failing to win a medal.
Black Stick Samantha Charlton said: “Over the last couple of weeks we’ve tried to look into some of those campaigns and take some learning out of them so that when we do get to those crunch times (in the semi-finals) we can go one further and not end up in the same position.
“But it does drive you a lot to get so close, and not to come away with a medal has been disappointing over the last couple of years. So we’re really using that as fuel to the fire this time.”
New Zealand, along with Australia, have been isolated over the last 18 months during the pandemic, leaving Graham Shaw to chew over where the women’s side stand heading into thei first match this weekend against Argentina.
“It’s obviously a challenge,” he said at a press conference in Tokyo. “We’ve played six games against Australia in the last seven or eight weeks and that’s the only games we’ve played in probably the last 17 or 18 months now.
“So it’s difficult to see where you are sitting in relation to other teams around the world, but what we’re doing is focusing really hard on ourselves and making sure we are structurally right around the field, making sure everybody knows their role.
“The most important thing is that we bring our style and our brand of hockey to each game and if we do that, we know we can be a threat to any team here.
“It’s not a tournament where we can focus heavily on the opposition, and we need to make sure we have our own house in order.”
The Blacks Sticks play Argentina women on Sunday.