West Chiltington star Maddie Hinch’s Olympic debut is within touching distance but the Great Britain goalkeeper knows there is still work to do –starting with this month’s Champions Trophy in London.
Despite making her senior international debut in 2008, Hinch has had to bide her time before establishing herself as the leading keeper in the country, missing out on a place in the Olympic squad four years ago as the Great Britain women picked up a bronze medal.
Since then she has won Commonwealth Games silver and taken on the role of penalty shootout hero as England beat the Dutch last summer to lift the EuroHockey Championship title in London.
The team are now back at the same Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre venue for this month’s Champions Trophy, where the women’s competition runs from June 18-26.
And while the Olympic Games in Rio is now less than 60 days away, Hinch would love nothing more than to warm-up for Brazil with another medal for her collection.
“I can’t wait, there’s nothing better than playing at home. Just checking the place out, it’s brought back the memories from last summer and I literally can’t wait,” she said.
“The whole thing is going to be mad and it gives us the chance to get the whole sport out there again and get people following us and then hopefully enjoy this and follow us through to Rio.
“It’s an interesting one as it’s obviously so close to Rio that you don’t want to show too many of your cards, so how Danny (Kerry, head coach) will approach this in terms of the coaching side will be interesting.
“There’s no doubt he’ll set us up to make sure we can win each game and we’ll be going out there to put in big performances but at the same time the priority is Rio this summer.”
The 27-year-old honed her skills while studying at Loughborough University. Over 60 per cent of gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games – with Hinch looking back on her university experience fondly.
“BUCS is cool, you get to really get into the spirit of things,” she added.
“I only got to do it for the one year and I really enjoyed it. I remember always thinking we were playing against Birmingham or Edinburgh and there’s always that rivalry in the team.
“Being at Loughborough in particular, everyone seemed to want to beat us. I enjoyed it, it’s a shame I didn’t get to do it more.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport is the national governing body for Higher Education sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions.
Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games – see the website www.bucs.org.uk
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