With 6 Days to go we celebrate 6 important firsts set to happen at this year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup.
Three players and two umpires will be playing or officiating in their first Hockey World Cup, while Carlos Retegui is attempting a coaching feat that has never been tried before.
Emma Puvrez, Belgium
At 16, Emma Puvrez is one of the youngest players at this year’s event and she is also one of a number of players playing in her first World Cup. The Red Panther says: "The World Cup means a lot to me. I have never played a World Cup before, in fact this is just my second tournament for Belgium. And secondly, because this is the top of the world we are playing against. Before I was selected I thought I would be the reserve player, but I am so happy to be selected."
Emily Wold, USA
Another debutante, and a member of the recent Champions Challenge-winning USA women's team is Emily Wold. The midfielder has put her academic studies on hold to concentrate on her hockey career, so her selection is a vindication of that decision.
To say the 19-year-old is excited is an understatement. "When we received the email naming the World Cup squad my immediate reaction was 'This is huge' and I had a big smile on my face. Being named to a tour is always a good feeling but when this squad was announced I kept thinking to myself 'Wow, this is sick', the World Cup is a no joke tournament. To get the opportunity to play at such a big event, with a huge crowd, in the country that is the heart of hockey is something to be very pumped about!"
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It may never happen again so make the most of it! My friends are always telling me 'Your life is so cool!' Also a lot of times when I will post photos on Instagram or Twitter relating to what I am doing with field hockey they will always say, 'Your pictures are so sick!' And they are 100% correct. Right now I am living the life and couldn't be happier.”
Jeremy Hayward, Australia
The third debutante is Australia's latest young talent to hit the international stage. Jeremy Hayward has just eight caps for the Kookaburras but he has slotted into the team and says: "They are such a great bunch. They all help me through but especially big GT (Glenn Turner), who has been showing me the ropes. I am really excited about playing in the World Cup. It is the pinnacle of our sport."
Laurine Delforge & Javed Shaikh, Umpires
Keeping control of the players will be an experienced team of officials, but for two umpires this is a step up from World League umpiring. Laurine Delforge and Javed Shaikh are both umpiring in their first World Cup. It will also be both exciting and an intensely nerve-wracking moment. As Javed says: "Just hearing the words 'World Cup' makes me nervous, but I am going to try and treat it as just one more international match."
Carlos Retegui, Argentina Head Coach
Carlos Retegui is a charismatic coach who nervously lives through every moment of hockey action with his team. Which is why the Hockey World Cup is likely to leave him doubly exhausted. Carlos is head coach for both the men's and women's team, and although he says that he will be delegating some duties to his team, when the final whistle blows it is Carlos who is in the limelight. His teams lie at either end of the scale. The women are the reigning champions; the men are ranked 11th. Ominously for teams in the women's competition, Carlos says that his team are getting back to their best after a poor performance in London 2012. "In London (2012 Olympics) we did not do so well, some of the players were not well, Charo (Rosario) Luchetti, Noel Barrionuevo, Carla Rebecchi and Belen Succi (who missed London 2012 due to pregnancy) were all below par and they are all crucial to any team. The rest of the team now have another two years’ experience and that is invaluable."
For the Belgium women, the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup will be the first time the team has competed this millennium. In fact, the last time the Red Panthers graced the World Cup stage was in 1981, two years before captain Charlotte Vos was even born. "This squad might be young," said the Red Panther's skipper, "but they are hungry to win, and we have worked very hard in the months leading up to the tournament."
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