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27 June 2012 | PR 12/116

Olympic joy for Loughborough University hockey star

Richard Smith

Loughborough University’s Richard Smith has been named in the 16-strong Team GB men’s hockey squad for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Richard, 24, who has been at the university for the last five years, has won seven caps and scored three goals since his GB debut against Argentina in 2010.

Loughborough University’s assistant hockey coach Jon Bleby said he was delighted for Richard, who is an attacking defender and plays for Loughborough Students.

He added: “It’s fantastic news. It’s testament to the amount of hard work he has put in. His work ethic in the last year has been out of this world.

“He works very hard on his game and I’m sure he will be absolutely thrilled to be playing in an Olympics, especially as his first Olympics are at home.

“He has been at the university for five years and has made massive strides.

“I’d describe him as an exciting defender. He carries the ball out of defence quite a lot and is dangerous and will be hoping to score a few goals.

“When he first came to us there was a GB squad selected for the Youth Olympics and he did not get in it.

“So to be named now in the senior squad for the Olympics four years down the line is really amazing.

“And he has got there by nicking the spot of a real stalwart of the side, Richard Mantell, who is a world class player.”

Richard is an MSc Business Analysis and Management student at Loughborough University. He was awarded one of the University’s 2012 Scholarships, which only go to athletes likely to represent their country in 2012.

Richard has won 50 England caps and was part of the England side that won a silver medal in the Champions Trophy in 2010 and a gold at the European Championships in 2009.

The Great Britain squad also includes six players who are either former Loughborough University students or have played for Loughborough Students, including Glenn Kirkham, who captained the side.

The others are Nicholas Catlin, Iain Lewers, Iain Mackay, Barry Middleton, the GB captain, and Alastair Wilson. Great Britain’s head coach, Jason Lee, used to be head of hockey at Loughborough University.

There is no shortage of international experience in the squad, which contains 12 members of the England team which won European gold for the first time in 2009, beating Germany in the final.

Many of the squad were also involved as England won silver at the 2010 Champions Trophy and bronze at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championship. For seven of the squad, however, London 2012 will be their first taste of the Olympic Games.

Team GB have won Olympic gold in men’s hockey three times - at the first two tournaments in 1908 and 1920, and most recently at the Seoul 1988 Games.

Bleby believes they can win a medal. “I think they have got a great chance,” he said.

“It will be tough, there are two outstanding sides in the world, Australia and Germany.

“Most people think if they can beat Australia or Germany they have got a great chance of winning gold. I’d be surprised if they did not make the semi-final, and once you get there it’s game on.”

Squad: Nicholas Catlin, Jonathan Clarke, Matthew Daly, James Fair, Daniel Fox, Ben Hawes, Ashley Jackson, Glenn Kirkham, Iain Lewers, Iain Mackay, Harry Martin, Barry Middleton, Robert Moore, Richard Smith, James Tindall, Alastair Wilson 

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Chris Goddard
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: C.J.Goddard@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching and strong links with industry.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 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.

Loughborough has been selected by the British Olympic Association as the Official Preparation Camp Headquarters for Team GB prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The University has also signed a partnership with the Japanese Olympic Committee that will see both organisations working together until the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Follow the University’s London 2012 Olympics news on Twitter - @lborolondon2012

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This page was last updated on Wednesday June 27, 2012 17:05