We can win hockey gold, says former Loughborough coach
19 July 2012
Former Loughborough University hockey coach Jason Lee believes the Great Britain men’s team have their best chance of winning the gold medal since Sean Kerly inspired them to Olympic glory in 1988.
And Jason, who has been Great Britain’s coach for the last nine years, insists the class of 2012 will take risks and go for it in a bid to triumph at the London 2012 Olympics.
Jason was speaking after the 16-strong Great Britain squad, including seven players with Loughborough links, were kitted out at the Team GB Loughborough Preparation Camp at the university.
The 42-year-old, who will be appearing in his fifth Olympics, his third as coach, said there would be thrills, spills and plenty of goals because Great Britain did not want to finish the Olympics wondering what if?
He said he had been planning Great Britain’s style of play ever since the Games were awarded to London seven years ago.
And, asked if they can emulate the Great Britain team of 1988, he said: “Oh certainly. We have been trying to play a style to win the Olympics for seven years.
“It might sound a bit strange but you can play a style that means you can do the best you can.
“You can also play a style that gives you the best chance of winning it. But it has a risk, and you can play quite poorly.
“I could almost guarantee that we would play one way and finish between third and sixth.
“But we are trying to play a way to win it, so we could come first to ninth.
“Our games are going to be exciting, end to end. We will be scoring goals, that’s for sure.
“It’s realistic to say we can win it, and that is the first time a British men’s team could say that since 1988.”
Jason said midfielder Ashley Jackson (pictured), who played in Beijing when Great Britain finished fifth, was a vital to their hopes.
He said: “There’s 16 in the squad and all 16 will be key.
“But there are certainly people who, if they play well, can get us over the line.
“Ashley Jackson was named world junior player of the year in 2009, the first time a British player has been given that accolade.
“Ashley takes our penalty corners and scores lots of goals. If Ashley scores lots of goals, we have got a great chance. If he doesn’t we probably have not got any chance.
“Barry Middleton, our captain, has been one of the best players in the world for the last seven or eight years. We also need him to play like he is one of the best players in the world.
“But they all have a job to do, we can’t do it with two players.”
The seven players with links to Loughborough are Richard Smith, Nicholas Catlin, Iain Lewers, Iain Mackay, Middleton, Glenn Kirkham and Alastair Wilson.