Great Britain hockey teams qualify for Tokyo Olympics
PUBLISHED: 18:58 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:58 03 November 2019
Great Britain’s men and women secured their places at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with aggregate wins in their qualifying ties at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.
Both had won the first leg of their ties on Saturday and followed up with two more victories to ensure smooth progress.
The GB women claimed a professional 2-1 win over Chile, for a 5-1 aggregate success.
Early goals from Tess Howard and Laura Unsworth put the outcome beyond doubt after a testing rebuilding period for Mark Hager's squad, which included Hampstead & Westminster's Lily Owsley and Sarah Robertson.
Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb, one of six Olympic gold medalists from the 2016 Rio Games in the squad, said: "It's obviously been a massive aim of ours to qualify for the Olympics for quite some time. I'm really pleased and proud of the whole squad.
"Since the Europeans we've had a massive block over the past six to eight weeks and we've made huge strides forwards which has been because of the squad and competition within it for places. Training has been a much higher standard because of that.
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"We've got two weeks off now but when we get back in that's when the hard work starts. All of us will be competing for a place now, there's 16 seats on the plane to Tokyo which we know we're going to, so the hard work starts now."
The GB men put in a superb performance to overcome Malaysia in style, with Alan Forsyth hitting a hat-trick and Sam Ward bagging a brace in a 5-2 victory, which made it 9-3 overall.
Hampstead & Westminster's Harry Martin, Will Calnan and Jacob Draper were all part of the victorious squad and captain Adam Dixon said: "I'm not going to lie, it's a massive sense of relief. There was a lot of pressure on these two games.
"Well before this block leading into these games, we knew that pressure and nerves would come into it, so we tried to tackle it head on and channel it.
"Nerves are only a human emotion, we took it on the chin and put two good performances in this weekend. To wrap it up with a ticket to Tokyo makes it even sweeter.
"We got off to a flyer, I never really felt totally confident until 'Aldo' scored that final penalty stroke with four minutes to go, only then did I think that we'd sort of got it in the bag.
"Malaysia kept on coming and we knew that would be the case. I think we dug deep defensively, it was going to be a scrappy game at that point, we just had to make sure we didn't make any silly errors and in large parts that's exactly what we did."
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