Hockey Wales is proud to announce that three Welsh Internationals are among those to receive a call up to the Great Britain Hockeysenior programme, the first Welsh athletes to do so since London 2012 Olympian Sarah Thomas.
Daniel Kyriakides from Swansea, Sarah Jones and goalkeeper Rose Thomas, originally from Cardiff and Abergavenny respectively, have all been recognised as high potential players and will now train two days a week with the Great Britain centralised training programme at the home of British hockey and centre of excellence, Bisham Abbey.
Head of Performance Dan Clements, who oversees the Wales performance pathway, described the news as a well-earned reward for the players and the Welsh set-up more widely:
“We are really pleased for Dan, Rose and Sarah after they received news of their selection. After such a positive year for both GB Hockey and our Welsh Senior teams, this is just reward for their hard work as individuals, as well as the playing group and management as a collective.”
Over the past two years, both Wales Senior Men and Women’s teams have demonstrated their ability to compete with and beat considerably higher ranked teams on the international stage, and for the individuals selected, it is a crucial first step on the way torepresenting Great Britain internationally.
The trio were chosen following an assessment period that ended in December and the ensuing invitation means they will gain experience alongside Britain’s best players, including reigning Olympic champions, as well as access to world class coaching and athlete support services.
Their inclusion in the senior programme will also see them subject to regular reviews as they look to progress in the centralised programme to a full-time basis during the Tokyo 2020 or 2024 cycle. Clements continued:
“Their selection is great recognition for them as players and it clearly highlights their potential, with Tokyo or 2024 obviously being their long-term ambitions.
“Training with the GB programme on a weekly basis is going to be a huge boost for them, and working with staff on the Olympic programme will no doubt allow them to take their game much further. We are very proud of their achievement and we are confident they will maximise the opportunity to its fullest.”
The group next compete for Wales in the upcoming World League Round 2, with Jones and Thomas, who represent Holcombe andWimbledon at club level, currently in Kuala Lumpur ahead of competition starting this Saturday, while Cardiff & Met’s Kyriakides (who represented GB Under 23’s last summer) will look to be named among the men’s squad for their equivalent event in Ireland, 11th-19th March.
Brian Davies, Director of Elite Performance at Sport Wales, commented:
“This is very exciting news for Hockey Wales and I would like to congratulate the three of them on behalf of all at Sport Wales. Their selection is not only credit to them as athletes, but also to the tireless work of both the men and women’s squad, which is evident following their successful progression to Round 2 of the Hockey World League. Hockey is going from strength to strength and I look forward to following their progress as we head towards Gold Coast 2018 and, hopefully, Tokyo 2020.”
Clements added: “We are very grateful for the support that Sport Wales has provided on this journey and we hope that Dan, Rose and Sarah are the first of many over the coming years, as players continue to thrive within the Hockey Wales performance pathway.”
GB Hockey are due to announce the full roster of athletes selected for the centralised programme next week.