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25 June 2008 PR 08/90

Loughborough ten named in Team GB hockey squads

Loughborough University players feature heavily in Britain’s men’s and women’s hockey squads named by the British Olympic Association (BOA) this week.

Eight students, past and present, are among 32 hockey players set to represent Britain in Beijing this August. Both GB head coaches are also Loughborough graduates.

The men’s squad remains unchanged from the team that secured Britain’s Olympic qualification in Chile earlier this year, with current Loughborough players Jon Bleby and Ali McGregor, student Barry Middleton, graduates Richard Alexander and Glenn Kirkham and former player Ali Wilson all named.
University graduates Jennie Bimson and Lucilla Wright, who were part of the GB squad to win bronze at last year’s EuroHockey Nations Championships, both feature in the women’s line-up.

Wright and Middleton are the only two Loughborough athletes named with previous Olympic experience, while six are set to make their Games debut.

Loughborough’s McGregor is one of those six and is the only goalkeeper to be named in the men’s squad. Originally from Aberdeen, he has 82 caps for Scotland and 20 for GB.

“I have watched all the Olympic hockey tournaments since GB won at Seoul in 1988,” he said. “It is definitely the high point in any athlete’s career.”

Loughborough graduate and former player Jason Lee, who competed at the 1992 and 1996 Games, is GB Hockey’s men’s head coach. He has been impressed with the group’s ability to perform under pressure which was demonstrated at the Olympic qualifier in Chile.

“The playing group have a limited Olympic experience but have repeatedly shown that they are able to cope with new and challenging environments, so I have no fear that they may wilt under the Olympic spot light,” he said.

Former Loughborough 1st XI captain Danny Kerry is head coach to a women’s side which has enjoyed a lengthy period of preparation since qualifying for the Games in August 2007.

“We have a very athletic squad with high levels of physical conditioning and we have worked hard to know our game of hockey such that it is robust under the pressure of Olympic competition,” he said. “We will very simply take each game as it comes at the Games, avoiding speculation as to final positioning and instead remaining focussed on the immediate task in hand.”

Past and present Loughborough University players and coaches are as follows:

Players
Richard Alexander (Graduate)
Jon Bleby (Graduate / Loughborough Students)
Ali McGregor (Loughborough Students)
Barry Middleton (Current student)
Ali Wilson (Former player)
Glenn Kirkham (Graduate)
Jennie Bimson (Graduate)
Lucilla Wright (Graduate)
Coaches
Jason Lee (Graduate, former coach)
Danny Kerry (Graduate, former coach)

The Beijing Olympic hockey programme runs from 10-23 August 2008.

-ENDS-

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Notes for editors:

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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