Wednesday, May 29, 2024

‘Honour’ to wear Grace’s now-retired No.7 hockey shirt

The brother of Grace O’Malley-Kumar said it was an “honour” to wear his sister’s shirt as the tournament set up to remember the gifted hockey player was staged in Nottingham.

The Grace O’Malley-Kumar Cup, organised by Grace’s University of Nottingham student friends, featured six teams at the Nottingham Hockey Centre on Saturday, with hundreds supporting the day.

“It’s so amazing to see everyone is here to remember Grace,” James O’Malley-Kumar said.

“To remember who she was – and Barnaby and Ian.”

The tournament also saw money raised for the foundations of Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates, who also died in the Nottingham attacks last year.

James wore the number seven shirt – the number his sister also wore, which has  now been retired by the university’s women’s side.

“It’s an honour to wear her number,” he added. “Grace was an amazing sportswoman and I have to live up to what she achieved and what she’s done and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Dr Sinead O’Malley, Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s mother, said attending the tournament had been “bittersweet”.

Grace’s father with the inaugural trophy

“Ultimately it’s so lovely to see so many people that were such a big part of Grace’s life together,” she said.

“It’s really been a lovely day. We’re really happy to be here.”

The Grace O’Malley-Kumar Foundation helps support those in their sporting and academic endeavours and promotes community service.

The tournament comprised of six different teams: 

Grace’s all stars team captained by her brother James, also a junior international

University of Nottingham Mixed team captained by two of her closest friends, Mia Brown Nicola Fletcher 

University of Nottingham 1st XI captained by her ex-teammate, Maddie Axford

University of Nottingham Alumni co-captained by her ex-teammates, Meg Da Lange and her former Captain Katie Curtis 

Old Loughtonians legacy team captained by Nathan Gladman 

Southgate Hockey Club legacy team captained by her fellow Southgate and England Hockey friend, Sophia Martin

Grace’s friend Nicola Fletcher, 20, told the Nottingham Post: “Everything that gets written about her is so true, she was that person you’d go to if you felt a bit down and you just needed someone to lift you up. 

“She was so confident but she made other people confident too, she never took all the attention. It made you feel so safe if you had Grace with you because you knew that everyone would be having a nice time.”

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