Meet the Ipswich hockey coach flying the flag for Team GB
- Credit: Sam Beveridge
An Ipswich hockey coach has swapped the bright lights of Suffolk for Tokyo as she joins up with Team GB.
Sam Beveridge is a coach at Ipswich and East Suffolk Hockey Club and also works with Team GB, she recently headed to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics.
"I have two roles with GB hockey; my first is with coach education,” she said.
“I work with coaches from grassroots level up to regional levels as their mentor.
“My other role is team manager for the women’s team. I am sort of in charge of the off the pitch things like logistics, then the coaches will do all the on the pitch things.”
In Ipswich she is a coach for the ladies’ ones and also helps with coach education in the junior section.
“We now have over 100 juniors which is really good. The facilities at Ipswich School are really good.”
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It’s not the first time the coach has been to an Olympics having previously worked in Athens in 2004 and London 2012 as a volunteer.
“I have seen the volunteer part of the games and now I’m seeing being part of a team as well,” said Miss Beveridge. “I’m really lucky.”
This Olympics is very different to any other that she has experienced.
“The fact there are no spectators or fans I think that will be really the most different thing and getting the buzz from behind you,” she said.
“The girls don’t have their families here either to share those special moments with.”
Whilst it has been hot of late in Suffolk, it's also been hot and very humid in the Japanese capital with temperatures over 30C.
"We are really lucky, we came into the village the first day it opened and it was pretty quiet," said Miss Beveridge.
"The opening ceremony was tonight so it's definitely got a lot busier. The atmosphere is building for sure."
Miss Beveridge and the team have been busy training at the newly built Oi Hockey stadium ahead of their first matches this weekend.
Among the women's team players that she is managing is another Suffolk name in Hannah Martin, whose brother Harry has also travelled out with the men’s team.
“The county system is really good and those players do come back and help to inspire.
“I think school hockey in Suffolk is growing and there are good community clubs that are well supported in the area. It’s such a big growing sport in Suffolk, it’s exciting.”
Team GB's women go in as reigning Olympic champions in hockey and it's a feat that Miss Beveridge hopes that her team will be able to replicate again.
“There’s a tiny bit of pressure but the team is really different,” she said.
“We are really well prepared. We are definitely going for a medal place.”
Anyone inspired by Suffolk's hockey stars can get involved with their local clubs by searching on the England Hockey website.