Wales' Leah Wilkinson in action. Pic: Getty Images

Most Welsh Hockey Players At An Olympics Since 1908

By Tom Prosser

There will be significant Welsh interest in the hockey at this summers Tokyo Olympics after both the men’s and women’s squads feature two Welsh players each.

This marks a great achievement for Welsh Hockey as no players were included in the 2016 squad and this is the most Welsh representation in a staggering 113 years.

Rupert Shipperley and Jacob Draper are in for the men, whilst Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson are included in the Women’s squad.

The call-ups are particularly poignant for both Jones and Wilkinson as they are a couple off the field, having been in a relationship together since 2014.

Wales’ Sarah Jones who has been selected for the Olympics. Pic Getty Images.

“It’s just a bit mind-boggling,” Jones told BBC Sport Wales.

“There are little moments when someone will say you’re going to be an Olympian or you put on the Team GB shirt and you think ‘how did that happen?’.

“It’s now difficult to imagine doing the whole thing without Leah, if I’m honest. Because she’s been there throughout my whole Welsh journey and for the last two years of GB.

“So it’s a very big deal to be going to an Olympics but to be going with your other half is incredibly special.”

In 2019, Wilkinson decided to take a sabbatical from here secondary school teaching job to devote all her time and energies into getting picked for the Olympics.

She now teaches for one day a week and her decision looks to have paid dividends.

The couple who got engaged in 2019 travel together to GB Hockey’s elite training base at Bisham Abbey four days a week.

They can now focus solely on their passion of hockey and put even more time into their training, strength work and recovery.

The Tokyo Olympic Games begin on Friday 23 July. Great Britain’s women take on Germany in their opening match, while the men play South Africa.

 

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