Hockey star Martin turns back the clock to reflect on Olympic journey

·4 min read
Hockey - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games -  Women's Bronze Medal Match - England v India - Gold Coast Hockey Centre - Gold Coast, Australia - April 14, 2018. England players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David Gray
Hockey - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games - Women's Bronze Medal Match - England v India - Gold Coast Hockey Centre - Gold Coast, Australia - April 14, 2018. England players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David Gray

Hannah Martin has been getting up to all sorts in lockdown but reckons a blast from her Ipswich School past tops the lot.

The Great Britain hockey ace has spent the lay-off disseminating expertise to current students at her old school via Zoom, also playing a key role in the Women’s Sport Trust's ‘Unlocked' campaign and helping Flyerz Hockey keep active.

Holbrook-based Martin spent the majority of lockdown in Addington with her boyfriend, Sam, staying fit through a hybrid of picturesque bike rides through the Yorkshire Dales and pounding the pavements in the White Rose county.

But Martin has loved getting a taste of nostalgia as she shared her advice to fledgling hockey stars bidding to follow in her footsteps.

“I went to Ipswich School for 15 years and it’s absolutely important to help, inspire and pass guidance on to the next generation,” Martin, one of 1,100 athletes supported by The National Lottery through UK Sport’s World Class Programme, said.

“Ipswich School was incredible for me and I wouldn’t have played hockey if I hadn’t gone there, so I’ve got a strong affinity with the school!

“I always want to help out whenever I can and it’s great to see how dedicated and interested the sixth form girls are in all aspects of hockey.

“It’s just great to share any insight I can and if I can inspire people along the way, then it’s fantastic.

“And the Women’s Sport Trust's 'Unlocked' campaign is incredible – we’ve come together to really enhance the visibility of women’s sport and promote it as much as possible.

“We want people to see female athletes out there and inspire people to play sports, so we’re trying to change society for the good and that’s all incredibly inspiring.

“I’m so incredibly proud, honoured and humbled to be alongside so many incredible women - there’s a real sense of unity and we’re trying to drive women’s sport into a good place.”

National Lottery funding played a central role in Team GB’s thrilling women’s hockey gold in Rio in 2016, as Kate Richardson-Walsh’s side toppled the Netherlands in a memorable penalty shoot-out.

And that crowning glory was just one of 864 medals secured at the Olympic and Paralympic Games since 1997, with the injection of National Lottery funding 23 years ago ushering in an unprecedented epoch of success.

Martin watched that breath-taking final from Surbiton Hockey Club as a precocious 21-year-old, further igniting her passion for glory and fuelling her desire to make the team in Tokyo.

Britain have been drawn in a group with the Netherlands, Germany, India, Ireland and South Africa next summer and Martin can’t wait to set foot on the plane and defend her team’s title.

“I remember watching us win in Rio and it was unbelievable – I got utter goosebumps and the unity of the squad really shone through,” she added.

“To now be part of that squad is so special and I treasure it every day – we’ll be going to Tokyo to defend our title, and the postponement of the Games is a massive opportunity for us to gel and develop even further.

“I count my blessings every single day for the opportunity I have through The National Lottery - everyone who buys a ticket allows our success to happen, so me and the whole squad are so massively grateful.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories/track-to-tokyo and #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo