Thursday, February 22, 2024

GB star Shona McCallin ends superb international hockey career

Shona McCallin has retired from international hockey after a stellar career with England and GB Hockey, as she passed over the No.24 shirt to a player she hoped would play with the “same pride, grit and determination”.

McCallin stepped away from the international scene on Tuesday after accruing 122 caps, and a medal-laden period which included Olympic, European and Commonwealth golds.

McCallin, 31, said: “Over the last 10 years, interspersed with more injuries than I would have liked, I have been fortunate to be part of some of the most successful of times with GB and England: Olympic, Commonwealth and European gold medals plus an Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo. 

“Being able to share these moments with teammates, staff, friends and family will stay with me forever.”

McCallin had endured a number of setbacks from concussion since her debillitating injury on tour in Argentina early 2018 and admitted that she couldn’t fully commit to the Bisham Abbey programme leading up to Paris 2024.

“Over the last few months, I’ve come to realise that the mental and physical energy required to be part of the centralised programme is just not there anymore. I am not, and will never be, someone who can only commit to something 80% or 90%.”

England’s Shona McCallin PIC: England Hockey

“It’s time to pass the number 24 shirt to someone new, who I hope can wear it with the same pride, grit and determination I did in every single game. Train hard so matches are easier.” 

McCallin, who started the game aged six at Newark, made her way into the senior set up after featuring in England age group.

She will still play for club side Reading in the Women’s Premier Division and will also focus on her new supplement venture The Ten Per Cent Club

England and GB Hockey performance director, Ed Barney, said: “It is no coincidence that Shona’s tenacity, game intellect and individual skills has mirrored the brightest period of women’s hockey in recent decades.

“We will miss Shona, but we wish her every success and contentment in all her future ventures. I have no doubt she will continue to tread new paths, inspire future generations and thrive in whatever she pursues.”

Lily Owsley, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb and Laura Roper (Unsworth) are now the four remaining players still left playing at international level from GB’s Rio squad.

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