St Albans Hockey Club celebrates GB women's Rio 2016 hockey gold
St Albans Hockey Club is still celebrating after GB’s women won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Club player-coach Hannah Macleod was a member of the triumphant team which beat Holland in the gold medal match after a penalty shoot-out.
Last year’s St Albans captain Ellie Watton was part of the playing squad and one of two non-playing reserves in Rio.
The links do not end there though as club vice-president John Hurst was team manager in Brazil and is a national goalkeeping coach.
He is the face behind the success of goalkeeper Maddie Hinch who saved four Dutch penalties.
St Albans head coach Andy Halliday, who is also the GB men’s team manager, told the Herts Ad: “The St Albans participation in the gold medal success is a great accolade for the club and says much about the character and ambition that prevails at Oaklands.
“We would love to see this success spur a few more local people to come down and try the sport.
“I am obviously thrilled for the success of the GB women’s team in Rio. The win will do wonders for the sport in general.
“We saw a 30 per cent increase in participation following London 2012 and I hope that after this wonderful achievement, we will surpass that.
“It would be fantastic to see more women and men taking the opportunity to participate in an all-inclusive family-friendly sport.”
Halliday was left downbeat though as the GB men’s side did not make it out of their group, but he remains positive and revealed work has already started towards Tokyo 2020.
“Whilst I am obviously still feeling incredibly raw and disappointed for our men, who failed to make the knockout stages, I always believed that one or both of the genders would secure a podium finish,” he said.
“The support system we now have in place in GB hockey to back our athletes throughout the Olympic cycle is second to none in world sport.
“We are very lucky to receive UK Sport funding and support through the National Lottery.
“The memories of Rio and the success of Team GB will live long in the memory and we have been planning for Tokyo for well over 12 months already.”