For the first time, two current students have been called-up to the Women’s squad and will take their place alongside a further five alumnae in a bid to defend the gold medal won at Rio 2016.
One of those players is Ellie Rayer, and the current PhD student spoke to Loughborough Sport as part of the #lboro2tokyo campaign:
“There’s such a legacy…you believe that you can be a part of it.
“People that have been in the same shoes as you, potentially the same halls, the same gym, the same pitch, they’ve gone on to do it, so why can’t you?
“For me, the support [at Loughborough] has been amazing. It’s allowed me to fulfil both sides of academia and sport. It’s never been an either-or, it’s been a case of ‘we can make this work, you can do both and achieve’.”
Alongside Ellie, Izzy Petter will also play in her first Olympic Games and the current student explains how the transition from Loughborough to Team GB proved seamless due to the environment on campus:
“The programme we have at Loughborough is almost like an international programme…we have a psychologist, strength and conditioning coach, two hockey coaches, and also the level you’re playing at and the training is second to none.”
For Brett Holland, the Head of Women's Performance Hockey at Loughborough, the strong pathway to international hockey comes as little surprise:
“We have just been this conveyor belt of talent. We’re producing international players every season, both in our U-23 GB programme, but also in the senior programme too.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have two current students in the Olympic squad and going to Tokyo. It’s beyond our dreams to be honest and it’s never happened before.
“To have one of those students as a current Loughborough player (Petter), playing for us week in, week out in the Premier League, is incredible, and we’re very proud of both of them.
Team GB’s Men’s hockey side also sees two alumni make the final 16, and will be coached by Danny Kerry MBE and David Ralph, both graduates of Loughborough.
Loughborough’s dedicated 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games website features all the latest news, videos, and medal tables from Japan.