England’s 16 women’s hockey players, announced as the team for the Delhi Commonwealth Games, could make it four medals in a row if they reach the podium in Delhi this October.
Alex Danson, now on 99 caps, is one of the players seeking to rise to that challenge.
'We've had a fantastic summer, winning bronze in the Champions' Trophy and now we want to push on as a squad and top the year with a big performance at the Commonwealth Games. We have the characters and talent in the team to achieve something special”, said Danson.
England already has two Games silvers (’98 and ‘02) and a bronze (’06) so far since hockey’s introduction to the Games.
Defenders Kate Walsh, captain four years ago, and Helen Richardson are the only survivors of England’s silver medal win in Manchester in 2002 when the women lost out to India on a sudden death golden goal in the final.
They also played in 2006 when the women took bronze against New Zealand – this time on penalties. Chloe Rogers, Beth Storry and Danson, also played in Melbourne.
The newcomers include Charlotte Craddock who, at 17, became hockey’s youngest ever female hockey Olympian when she was selected for the Beijing Olympic Games. The Harry Potter fan from Wolverhampton went to Beijing despite having suffered a fracture in her back just a year before the Games which kept her out of the sport for three months in 2007.
England’s women have a strong track record going into the Games. They were third at this year’s Champions’ Trophy in Nottingham and leave the UK this weekend for this month’s World Cup as part of a gruelling schedule leading up the Games which could see them play seven matches in 11 days in Argentina.
England Hockey Head Coach Danny Kerry said: 'This has been a tough selection demonstrating the growing depth of the squad. We need to follow up our bronze medal in the Champions' Trophy last month with a strong performance in the World Cup and then step up again for the Commonwealth Games. This squad has the quality to handle the challenge.'
Craig Hunter, England’s Chef de Mission for Delhi said: “We welcome the England women’s hockey players into the squad and wish them every success, first in Argentina and then in their final preparations for Delhi”.
Australia, meanwhile, could provide some of the stiffest opposition in Delhi. They have won five of the six gold medals on offer to date in men’s and women’s hockey at the Games. Their only miss came in 2002 when the women’s gold went to India.
The England men’s squad for Delhi is due to be announced on 24 August
Team England women: Ashleigh Ball, Charlotte Craddock, Crista Cullen, Alex Danson, Susie Gilbert, Hannah Macleod, Helen Richardson, Chloe Rogers, Natalie Seymour, Beth Storry, Georgina Twigg, Laura Unsworth, Kate Walsh, Sally Walton, Nicola White, Kerry Williams.
Travelling reserves: Gemma Ible, Katie Long.
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