Loughborough Hockey’s “conveyor belt of talent” keeps delivering for Team GB (VIDEO)

Loughborough Hockey is synonymous with Team GB. Over the years, the pathway has been well and truly trodden with many alumni and former players representing their country on the world stage, with this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games set to be no different.

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. 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/139

Notes for editors

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.