Women's Sports: GB's women's hockey side told to 'create their own legacy' by coach Mark Hager

Great Britain v New Zealand - Women's FIH Field Hockey Pro League

Great Britain's Hockey coach, Mark Hager, has said his England side need to 'create their own legacy' ahead of their Olympic qualifier this weekend.

The GB ladies will face Chile's Las Diablas at Lee Valley in a two-leg tie that will decide whether they qualify for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Hager rightfully reminded his side that they were not the same team that won Gold in the Rio Olympics of 2016.

"People look at this team as though it's the team that won in Rio and it's not. There are only seven of those women still in the team."

"It's a new side and a new era and they've got to create their own legacy going forward," he said.

Facing Las Diablas creates an interesting weekend of hockey as the two sides have never previously met in competition. GB currently ranks fifth in the world in the hockey rankings, with Chile in 18th place.

As pointed out by their head coach, Hager, GB's women have lost a huge chunk of their Rio squad and will be unable to ride on the reputation of previous years. Retirees Helen Richardson-Walsh, Kate Richardson-Walsh, Sophie Bray and Crista Cullen, alongside injured Alex Danson are all losses to the side.

It is safe to say GB women's team, much like the men's, has gone through a transitional period since 2016.

One particular low point came during the FIH Pro League when the team finished second from bottom - winning just three of 16 matches. In the European Championships this year, the team were thrashed by eventual winners, The Netherlands, in the semi-final 8-0.

Maddy Hinch, the stalwart of the team who was part of the side that won gold in Rio said the semi-final defeat was a real low point for the side. But ahead of this weekend's qualifier, she is hoping her teammates will band together to come away with a result that takes them to Tokyo.

"There aren't many gold medal winners left in the squad but we've tried to share what we experienced,"

"One of the main things was telling them it wasn't always a smooth journey. We had our ups and downs and that's what this group has had. The down moments are important for you to learn and reflect. Rio's in the past now. It's a whole new journey and a whole new squad.

"Let's get the job done this weekend and see where that leaves us."

This GB women's hockey side will be looking to create new success post-Rio and this starts with making sure they earn their place in Tokyo against Chile.

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