Sarah Jones of Great Britain in action. Pic: Getty Images

Wales Trio Are Heading For Paris Olympics With Team GB

By David Williams

Wales trio Rupert Shipperley, Jacob Draper and Sarah Jones can start preparing for the Olympic Games this summer after Great Britain men’s and women’s teams secured their places in Paris.

Welsh star Jones was at the heart of the GB women’s effort – scoring first as the team beat Ireland in the FIH qualifiers bronze-medal match in Valencia.

Great Britain’s men – with Team Wales Commonwealth Games stalwarts Shipperley and Draper in their ranks – then overcame New Zealand, 3-1, in their qualifier in Oman to clinch their own spot in Paris.

After her win, Jones said: “Emotional is definitely the word. Absolutely thrilled to have qualified for the Olympics.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who helped GB win bronze at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, added: “I think we had a fantastic tournament.

“Today probably wasn’t the best hockey we played but I think we played some fantastic hockey throughout this tournament and I know that’s something we will build on.

“Ireland are a fantastic opponent and commiserations to them.

“I feel very emotional about qualifying for Paris. I wasn’t part of the qualifiers last time around and to come into a tournament like this and to do is fantastic.

“This is the most consistent we have played in a while and I am thrilled we have got it done and it gives us confidence building towards Paris.”

For the GB men, Draper set up Phil Roper to put Britain in front against the Kiwis when he took down a lofted ball and lashed in a shot.

Sam Ward powered in two strikes from penalty corners either side of Kane Russell scoring from a New Zealand penalty corner.

Britain had to deal with five minutes with one less player during the last quarter following a yellow card but maintained their two-goal lead

All three Welsh players were part of GB Hockey’s Olympic squads for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

 

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