Olympic Games - London 2012

Seymour left out of GB hockey squad

British women's hockey coach Danny Kerry has admitted he spent plenty of sleepless nights agonising over his selections as he revealed his Olympic squad.

 
Seymour left out  - Olympic Games - London 2012PA Photos
 

Kerry's team are considered hot medal prospects after winning bronze at the World Cup, European Championships and Commonwealth Games, silver at this year's Champions Trophy and gold at the recent Olympic test event, where they beat world champions Argentina twice in two days.

Captain Kate Walsh and goalkeeper Beth Storry, both 32, are the oldest in the 16-strong squad while 21-year old Georgie Twigg is the youngest.

"Words cannot describe how difficult it has been to make the final decision in selecting this squad," said Kerry.

"Since we centralised our training programme in late 2009, our process has been continuous, making it our most thorough and exhaustive ever.

"We have chosen what we feel is the best combination of players for the challenges of the Olympic Games.

"Each and every one of the 28 athletes in the training group has committed so much and as a result we have the most powerful squad spirit I have ever known.

"I want to offer my congratulations to those that have been selected who I know will do our squad proud in London. I also want to offer my most heartfelt commiserations to those that have not been selected – they have given everything."

Kerry started the season with a 28-strong training squad and appeared on the verge of tears when asked about the exclusion of Natalie Seymour and Abi Walker, who are named as reserves.

"It has been very tough for me personally," he added.

"We had many selection meetings and had many long conversations.

"I couldn't sleep the night before I finalised the squad because there was so much going around in my head, some of the decisions were very marginal."

Great Britain's performance director David Faulkner was part of the last British hockey team to win gold, at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and believes there has never been a stronger women's team sent to the Games - with hopes high of eclipsing the bronze Team GB's women won in Barcelona 20 years ago.

"Olympic selection is always something that every athlete will remember," he said.

"The moment confirmation comes that they will become an Olympian lives with them forever.

"What is impressive about this women's hockey group is the collective manner in which they've approached the programme over the last four years. This group is incredibly special – I know that those not selected will give 100 percent support to those that have been."

Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt hailed the work Kerry has done since his appointment as women's head coach, with the team rising from 11th in the world six years ago - they didn't even qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics - to their current ranking of four.

"The progress made by the women's hockey team over the last six years has been outstanding," he said.

"They have consistently medalled at major international championships over the last two years and with victory in the recent test event on the Olympic Park, the team demonstrated their capability to beat the best sides in the world and compete for the Olympic medal podium this summer.

"On this historic day for the British Olympic movement, as the Olympic flame arrives in the UK, I am delighted to welcome the women's hockey squad as officially selected members of Team GB for London 2012."

Great Britain women's Olympic hockey squad:

Ashleigh Ball (Brighton, Cheltenham, 26), Laura Bartlett (Glasgow, 23), Crista Cullen (Boston, London, 26), Alex Danson (Southampton, Odiham, 26), Hannah Macleod (Huntingdon, 27), Emily Maguire (Paisley, 23), Anne Panter (Wellingborough, 28), Helen Richardson (Hitchin, West Bridgford, 30), Chloe Rogers (Great Dunmow, 27), Beth Storry (Reading, 32), Sarah Thomas (Merthyr Tydfil, 31), Georgie Twigg (Lincoln, 21), Laura Unsworth (Sutton Coldfield, 24), Kate Walsh (Stockport, 32), Sally Walton (Solihull, 27), Nicola White (Oldham, 24). Squad reserves: Natalie Seymour (Maidstone, 24), Abi Walker (Glasgow, 30)

Reuters
 
 
 
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