In the latest of a series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Great Britain (FIH World Ranking: 5) goalkeeper Maddie Hinch – a central figure in the GB team that won Olympic gold at Rio 2016 – looks ahead to her team’s crucial two-game clash against Chile (WR:18). The all-important matches will take place at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 2/3 November 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How will your team prepare for these hugely important matches?
Maddie Hinch: “We’ve obviously got a massive period ahead of us. I think it is really important as a group, not just as England from the Europeans but also GB from the [FIH] Pro League that we really reflect on what has happened this year; what we have learned, what we did do well and what we didn’t do so well. I think that this period will be about making sure that we have made those progressive learnings, so that come those games in November, the mistakes we have been making don’t repeat themselves and what we are good at are like our ‘super strengths’. Obviously, it is going to be an incredibly pressurised weekend, but if we get this period right and we do everything we feel we can, it’s like going into an exam when you have done all your homework, you’ll feel ready to go and the result will take care of itself.”
What can we expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Maddie Hinch: “I think we’ll just probably be a little bit tighter than we’ve been, if we are being honest. I think we have been a little bit inconsistent. I think we have showed signs that we are capable of competing with the top teams in the world but have also showed signs that teams can get the better of us when we are not quite ‘at it’. I think it is so important now that we make our ‘bad’ day still a very ‘tough to beat’ day, so even when we are not playing our best we still grind out results. That is the sign of a very good team and I think that is what you will see come November.”
What are your thoughts about Chile, your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Maddie Hinch: “We are looking forward to the qualifiers. We are pleased to now know who we are playing. Chile are not a team we necessarily know that well, but we have to respect them. They are going to come here very ready. They will be looking at it as, you know, two games and they are on a plane to Tokyo, so they have got a lot to play for. But at the same time, I think if we just attack this period with everything we have, and we make these learning progressions day in, day out, the result will take care of itself and that is what we hope for.”
Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Maddie Hinch: “There is no hiding away from what is in front of us, but this challenging journey that we have would make it that little bit sweeter if we manage to get ourselves on the plane to Tokyo. But for now, the focus is purely on that weekend in November and we cannot look further beyond that right now.”
Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.
For complete information about the men’s and women’s draw for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, .
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