‘A lot of talent’ in Hockeyroos Olympic team
Eight debutants, seven dual Olympians and one heading to her third Games. The Australian Olympic Committee has announced the Hockeyroos team for Tokyo 2020.
Among the 16 athletes named in the team, 28 year old Emily Chalker will compete at her third Games, while at the other end of the spectrum 19-year-old Amy Lawton will become the fourth youngest Hockeyroo to compete at an Olympics.
The team has a strong link to Olympic family traditions. Brooke Peris is the cousin to Olympic champion Nova Peris, and Kaitlin Nobbs following in the footsteps of her mother (Lee Capes – 1988 gold), father (Michael Nobbs – 1984) and uncle (Mark Hager – 1988, 1996 bronze) who all represented Australia at the Olympics.
26-year-old Steph Kershaw from Townsville was ecstatic to be named for her Olympic debut after a serious knee injury ruled her out of contention for Rio 2016.
“I’m over the moon and beyond excited,” Kershaw said. “It means everything to make this team. It’s obviously a different experience this time around, but I’m grateful for the opportunity and that the Olympics are still going ahead.”
“This Hockeyroos squad all have our common goal to win a gold medal. It’s a really talented group, so it will be awesome to see the kind of performances we can put out in Tokyo.
Hockeyroos head coach Katrina Powell, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the team in 1996 and 2000, was excited at the potential of the athletes selected.
“There is a lot of talent in this group – a lot of potential, drive, enthusiasm and passion, so if we can harness all of that in what will be really tough conditions in Tokyo, you never know what can happen,” said Powell.
“There is some experience that both I and (Assistant Coach) Katie Allen can bring directly to the group. But everyone’s Olympic experience is different, so these players need to be themselves and be authentic.
“Given the matches we’ve just played against New Zealand and the different combinations we had on the field in each game, coupled with the team doing well is an indicator of how difficult it was to pick this team. To have those names on the sheet makes Tokyo very real and I’m really excited about the opportunity that’s ahead of us.”
The team will aim to build on a phenomenal Olympic record of three gold when they begin their campaign on 25 July against Spain.
Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman congratulated the athletes on today’s selection.
“Today is a fantastic recognition of the skill and resilience of these teams and players, and I congratulate them on making the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said.
“The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras hold a special place in Australia’s Olympic tradition and these players will continue to build on that rich legacy.
“Thank you to Hockey Australia, the coaching and support staff, and the families, friends and supporters who have been there every step of the way with each of these 16 athletes.”
The Hockey competition will run from 24 July – 6 August at Oi Hockey Stadium.
Find out more with full athlete Bios at www.olympics.com.au/games/tokyo-2020/team/