Team GB hockey: 21 players to make Olympic debuts as men’s and women’s squads are named
17th June 2021

Laura Unsworth is set for her third Olympics appearance while Tokyo 2020 will stage Games debuts for 21 players named across Team GB’s men’s and women’s hockey squads.

The women enter as defending Olympic champions after overcoming the Netherlands in the final at the Rio 2016 Games, with their 16-strong squad consisting of nine debutantes. Unsworth arrives with 276 Great Britain and England caps and will be accompanied by a further six players representing Team GB for a second time.

Men’s captain Adam Dixon, who has 284 combined caps for Great Britain and England, is joined by David Ames, Ian Sloan and Sam Ward in making their second Olympic outing along with 12 debutants.

Jacob Draper and Rupert Shipperley will become the first Welsh male hockey players to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games since 2000. Welsh duo Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson are part of the women’s team, which also includes Scotland’s Sarah Robertson.

“For many of our Great Britain squad this has been a five-year journey in the making,” said women’s head coach, Mark Hager. Narrowing our squad down from 26 has been extremely difficult and highlighted the depth and talent we have. I have been humbled by how our entire Great Britain squad has supported each other through the selection process.

“There is a lot of potential in this team and I am very excited to see what this group of not only talented athletes, but exceptional people can bring in Tokyo. We have a good balance of experience within the group to draw upon as we continue to challenge each other, and I am looking forward to seeing this group of athletes perform on the world stage.”

At 20 and 21 years old, respectively, Izzy Petter and Fiona Crackles are the youngest members of the women’s squad and with proven performances over the past few years, they will be looking to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

Zach Wallace, just 21 years old, is the youngest of the men’s squad, closely followed by Wales’ Draper and English goalkeeper Ollie Payne, who are both 22.

“This squad to represent Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympic Games has skill, grit, pace and intelligence in balance,” added men’s head coach, Danny Kerry. “Those selected will represent the wider squad and their team-mates concomitant with the energy with which they have all prepared. All of the squad are proud of how they have gone about their preparations amidst the pandemic.

“We understand the scale of the challenges ahead in Tokyo and will remain focussed on a ‘game at a time’ approach. The men have invested in themselves to grow the many qualities needed to navigate Olympic tournament hockey. We now look forward to using these qualities in the Games.”

Team GB hockey squads

“It is a huge honour to be able to announce the selection of the men’s and women’s hockey teams for the Tokyo Olympic Games and I’d like to congratulate everyone on this outstanding achievement,” said Team GB Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mark England. “To be able to welcome back six reigning Olympic champions alongside an exciting mix of second-time Olympians and debutants gives me great pride.

“At Rio 2016, hockey united a nation and created memories that will last a lifetime for both fans and players alike. These are two very talented squads and there is no doubt that they have what it takes to go out to Tokyo and make Great Britain proud this summer.”

Great Britain Hockey performance director and Hockey team leader for Tokyo Ed Barney added: “The hard yards that have been committed day in, day out by players (selected and non-selected) and staff alike, stand the teams in such good stead for the weeks ahead.

“Whilst we have a total of 40 players travelling to Tokyo, it has been the quality, breadth and depth and perseverance of all players throughout the cycle (past and present) that forms the back bone and identity of both teams. We know how privileged we are to be able to travel and compete in what will be an amazing Olympics and I know that both teams are ready to do themselves, hockey and Team GB proud.”

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