Hannah Martin preparing to play at Youth Olympic Festival
HANNAH Martin is preparing to spend the New Year Down Under after her “surprise” selection for Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, which starts next month.
The 17-year-old from Holbrook, the younger sister of Team GB hockey star, Harry, is one of 120 athletes to be chosen by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to represent Great Britain at the event.
Martin, in the final year of sixth-form at Ipswich School, will be the youngest member of the girls’ hockey team which will go head-to-head with the hosts as well as China and the USA, in a round-robin competition.
However, having only just recovered from a foot injury, the teenager revealed she did not expect to be picked for the squad.
“I have been injured for 10 weeks with a fractured metatarsal and I didn’t take part much in the training camps, so I feel lucky to be given the opportunity,” said Martin, who starred for England as they took third place at last summer’s European Championships.
“It is a young team going to Australia and I think the selectors are looking towards the Under-21 World Cup next summer, although there are a few players that have experience at that level.”
The overall tournament runs between January 16 and 20, but Martin and her team-mates will be jetting out to Sydney 12 days before to acclimatise.
Prior to that, there is also the small matter of a week-long training camp in Spain and some intense individual preparation in the UK to look forward to.
“We have been given a training programme to follow and we have got to do a run on Boxing Day – giving our times to the strength and conditioning coach – so I don’t think there will be too many celebrations this year,” said the forward.
“In previous competitions I have not always been able to train in some of the sessions but I am pretty much fully-fit this time.
“I just want to give it my best shot and establish my position in the squad, then maintain it before the World Cup next summer.
“I have never been to Australia before, so to experience a new culture and just get the chance to represent Great Britain is a really exciting prospect.”