England and Great Britain goalkeeper Maddie Hinch is taking a break from international hockey to 'recharge both physically and mentally'.
The West Chiltington based Olympic gold medallist, who has made 133 appearance for England and Great Britian, has stressed, however, this is not the end of her international career.
The 29-year-old made her international debut as a 19-year-old back in 2008 and since 2012 she has played in 15 consecutive major international hockey events; winning gold at the
Olympic games and European Championships, with further medal success at two Commonwealth Games.
Hinch said: “After a very intensive few years I feel the need to press the pause button on playing international hockey and take a break.
“I plan to take this time to recharge both physically and mentally, work on my game technically with Stichtsche HC and return in the best possible position for my teammates, the programme and my country.
“Hockey is in an amazing place in this country, as highlighted by this summer's world cup, and it has been such a whirlwind since gold in Rio. I will of course be following the team’s results closely and it will be very unusual for me watching from afar!
“I still very much have the goal of going to Tokyo 2020 with Team GB, if selected.”
Hinch was the stand-out star in 2016 as she saved four penalties in a shoot-out with the Netherlands to win gold in Rio.
The stopper won European Championships gold with England in 2015 and Commonwealth bronze with Britain in April.
She also picked up another bronze as England reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in August, but admitted at the time that came as a particular disappointment.
Performance director Ed Barney added, “We fully respect Maddie’s position and always look to support our athletes in the choices they feel are right for the team and them individually.
“Maddie believes her personal development is best served with a break from the international programme, and we will be in regular dialogue with her in the coming months.
“In the meantime this represents an excellent opportunity for our other goalkeepers to further develop their skillsets, and I look forward to them grasping the chance with both hands."