Suffolk goalkeeper George Pinner wants to become a Team GB hero at Rio Olympics

George Pinner

George Pinner - Credit: Uijlenbroek

Goalkeeper George Pinner is determined to end 28 years of hurt, and become a national hero the current generation can celebrate for years to come.

It was 1988 when a Sean Kerly-inspired Great Britain won gold in Seoul. Since then the closest the nation has finished is fourth, back in London 2012, when Pinner was reserve goalkeeper.

Great Britain go into this summer’s tournament as the fourth-best side in the world, behind Holland, Germany and Australia – the latter two providing warm-up opposition for Team GB prior to the Champions Trophy, which will be held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, in London, in June.

The Champions Trophy pits together the world champions (Australia), Olympic champions (Germany) as well as a number of top-seeded teams, including Great Britain, who will have just returned from their three Test series in Down Under.

It promises to be a testing couple of months for Pinner, who should be named as Great Britain’s No.1 in Rio and, should the dream come true, the former Ipswich School pupil is keen to write his name into national folklore.

The 29-year-old Ipswich-born star said: “I don’t come from a hockey family, and the win in 1988 is just something I have been told about. It’s the same for some of my team-mates.

“The name Sean Kerly and the team in Seoul are what everybody remembers – everyone would have liked to have been part of that generation.

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“We would love to replicate the 1988 team’s victory, we want to be successful like them and have people talking about the 2016 team in years to come.”

“He added: “We have been fourth in the world now for many years and, in theory, the rankings suggest we will miss out on a medal.

“But the top six or eight teams in the world can beat anyone on their days.

“We will be trying to win the whole thing, it’s not something Great Britain has achieved for a long time, but the question is, can we get it to click?

“If we can, we have a fantastic chance.”

Pinner has just finished the domestic season with Holcombe, the newly-promoted Premier Division team going unbeaten throughout the regular season, but missing out in the National Finals, Wimbledon lifting the title for the second season in succession.

“The club season is done and dusted now and we can purely focus on Rio,” said Pinner, who along with another former Ipswich School pupil and Olympic hopeful, team-mate, Harry Martin, collected a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“I won’t be taking anything for granted (with regards to selection) and I am superstitious so I don’t like looking too far into the future, but things have gone well for me on a personal note over the last three years or so.

“I have two very good goalkeepers in James Bailey and Harry Gibson that are keeping me on my toes and the squad is probably the most competitive I have been a part of.

“I just need to concentrate on myself.

“My personal aim is to be the best goalkeeper in the world and I will set my stall out to try and achieve that.”

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