Hockey: Team GB coach Danny Kerry believes Olympic bronze could spur on women's team

 

Great Britain coach Danny Kerry believes Olympic bronze should spur on the women's team to win a world-level event in the future.

In order to create and sustain that success he believes hockey has to become the country's premier female team sport but is confident the plans put in place will help do that.

Having had a night to assess the achievement of winning only the second bronze medal by a British women's team - the only other coming 20 years ago - Kerry feels their ambition should know no bounds.

"I've made it clear to these guys that you shouldn't narrow things," he said.

"Your vision should be to be inspired by the likes of cycling and rowing and sailing. If you think small you only ever achieve small.

"I will probably upset a few people but I think women's hockey can be - and should be - the premier female team sport in the country.

"Our organisation has put an amazing amount of time and energy into capitalising on that and you have to have that kind of vision.

"Whether it is me or someone else leading that in the future only time will tell but I think we can do it.

"It won't necessarily be as quick as some of the other sports because there are a lot of established teams but why not have that same ambition and desire."

Unlike the players, some of whom had very little sleep having gone out to celebrate, Kerry had a relatively quiet night.

And the best thing about winning a medal is that he is now able to relax for a while.

"My body just shut down. I laid on my bed and looked at my phone and it has gone berserk with messages and I thought 'I can't do that now'," he added.

"Then, normally you wake up and your mind is straight away thinking 'What's the next thing?' but this morning it was a nice comfortable 'Ooh, this is nice' feeling.

"I've not had that sensation in 18 months to two years. I hope there is more of that to come."

The same cannot be said of the team, however, with captain Kate Walsh revealing the players planned to make the most of their celebrations.

"The last 12 hours have been a bit of a whirlwind and I think the maximum anyone has had is four hours' sleep - although some of us have not slept at all," said the 32-year-old three-time Olympian.

"I think it will continue like that for the next few days as we soak it all in.

"Karen Brown is our assistant coach (and a 1992 bronze medallist) and she said to me 'Make sure you take it all in and remember it for the rest of your life' and that is what we are going to do, soak it all in."

Reading team-mate Alex Danson admitted she had a sleepless night but it was not for want of trying.

"I stared at my ceiling and I saw 4.45am and I knew my alarm was going off at 6.30am and I was thinking 'Please sleep'," said the 27-year-old, who scored the opening goal in their 3-1 bronze medal victory over New Zealand.

"But I kept checking my medal was still there because this has just been the proudest moment in my entire life."

Danson has ambitions to be a teacher outside of her hockey life and hopes the team's success will inspire the next generation of players.

"The reason I want to teach is I was completely inspired by my PE teacher when I was at school," she said.

"My PE teacher loved sport and she loved hockey and I remember from the moment I went into my first PE class I thought it was the best thing ever.

"Everything that she was I wanted to be.

"It's an unbelievable honour to have a medal around our necks but part of our work must be about inspiring the next generation and I think that's something that these Games have encapsulated so perfectly."

PA

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