Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Leah Wilkinson ends stellar Wales and GB Hockey career

Leah Wilkinson, Wales’ most capped ever sportsperson, has announced her decision to retire from international hockey after amassing over 200 caps.

The GB international played four Commonwealth Games and has captained Wales since 2018. In all she played 204 times for Wales and GB over a 15-year career. She will continue to play club hockey at Surbiton women.

The 36-year-old said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to retire from international hockey. Having played for Wales for nearly two decades, I know that the time is right, and though I will miss representing Wales an immeasurable amount, I firmly believe that the squad is in a great place and will continue to move up the world rankings.

Reflecting on my time playing for Wales, I have endless memories, from travelling across Russia in a bus to playing in front of thousands of people in the Gold Coast.

“I have been so lucky; I have travelled the world, played in nine Europeans and four Commonwealth Games, playing against some of the best teams and players in the world.”

Wales women’s head coach Kevin Johnson said Wilkinson’s “extremely high professional standards” put her on the path for a lengthy and successful international career, culminating with selection for the Tokyo Olympics with Team GB.

He said: “It is almost too difficult with words to be able to communicate the full impact and legacy of Leah’s contribution to Welsh hockey over such a sizeable time period. 

“Her game on the field was always an impressive mix of a highly competitive nature with physicality, bravery, a combative style with a will to win that meant she all too often ‘put her body on the line’ for the team, with painful consequences at times, alongside her extremely effective technical skill set which she could execute just as efficiently under pressure.”

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