Hockey: Slocombe ready to serve Britain

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SUE SLOCOMBE, the highly successful national team coach of England since 1986, was yesterday named as the coach to take Great Britain's women to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Slocombe, a principal lecturer at the University of the West of England and a former England international, was always a strong favourite to take over the Great Britain post as soon as Dennis Hay made it clear that whatever the outcome of the Barcelona Olympics he would be standing down.

She was in Spain to see Britain take the bronze medal and made no secret of the fact that she would very much like to succeed Hay.

Capped 28 times for England between 1978 and 1981, she made a spectacular start to her international coaching career when, within a year of taking over the England job, she led her side to a silver medal in the 1987 European Cup in London, only losing out on the gold to the Netherlands in a penalty shoot-out.

She followed this up with fourth place in the World Cup in Sydney in 1990 and the following year in Brussels, England took European gold.

Always an uncompromising player herself, Slocombe has brought a hard, professional approach to the England camp. Her dedication to detail and single- minded attitude, with her flair for attacking hockey, could earn rich dividends.

Her first major test will come in August when Britain line up in Amsterdam in the elite Champions Trophy event. Also in the tournament are the Olympic champions Spain, the world champions, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Korea.

It will be a baptism of fire and with little time to prepare she can be expected to rely heavily on the England players she knows so well.

Slocome will combine the England and Great Britain jobs until after this summer's World Cup in Dublin where England's results will provide a track record for Britain in Atlanta.