Harpenden locals helping hockey players at Commonwealth Games

Andy and Sophie in the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games.

Andy and Sophie in the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games. - Credit: Archant

Harpenden locals are helping Team England go for gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Hockey talent Andy Halliday and physiotherapist Sophie Weaver travelled to Australia’s Gold Coast on March 24 with the England Men’s Hockey Team to assist them trying to bag a medal.

Andy, who went to St Albans Grammar and represented the city’s side, has been the team’s manager for about 10 years, as well as being hockey coach at St Albans School and head coach for the England Indoor, Men and Women teams.

He said: “It is fantastic, one of the best Olympic Villages we have been to. It’s really good, it’s comfortable, the accommodation and food are good and we are really close to everything.”

The men’s team have already thrashed Malaysia 7-0, drawn with Pakistan 2-2, and beat Wales 3-2. The top two teams of each group will compete for medals.

He added: “We are pretty pleased with where we have got to. It is a team that is evolving and growing and we had quite a few changes post Rio [Summer Olympics 2016]. We are pleased with our figures so far.”

The next match is against India tomorrow.

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St George’s School alumna Sophie has been the team’s physiotherapist for about a year: “It has been brilliant, the weather has been lovely and the competition has started pretty well.

“It is exciting - hockey was never a sport I played at school but it is a great sport which is really fast paced - really good from my point of view as a watcher.”

As a physiotherapist for the English Institute for Sport, Sophie has also worked with badminton players and fencers. She said hockey players are more likely to get fractures in the “high trauma” sport, but it does not phase her.

About 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 Commonwealth nations have travelled to the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville to participate in the Commonwealth Games 2018, which finishes on April 15.

England are currently second on the medals table with 24 golds, beaten only by Australia with 39. Scotland are in eighth and Wales in seventh.