13/04/2024
Stephanie Kershaw will debut playing hockey for Australia in Tokyo

Stephanie Kershaw of Australia battles for the ball with Tang Wanli during the FIH Champions Trophy match Photo: Lintao Zhang/Australian Olympic Committee

Hockey Australia announced the squads for the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos heading to the Tokyo Olympics in July.

Hockey Australia announced the squads for the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos that will be heading to Tokyo in July, selecting a healthy mix of experienced Olympians and Olympic debutants.

Eddie Ockenden, the Kookaburras co-captain alongside Aran Zalewski, continues his own legacy in making his fourth Olympics, he’ll be leading a men’s team with six former Olympians named in their second Games and nine debutants.

The Kookaburras are looking for Olympic redemption at this year’s games, after being eliminated in the quarter-finals in 2016.

They’ve gone a long way to back up the lofty ambitions of Olympic Gold, currently ranked number one in the world and the 2019 FIH Pro league Champions. They’ll go into Tokyo as one of the favourites as a result of the recent success with the Kookaburras chasing their second Olympic gold medal, the first since 2004.

Emily Chalker will be the most experienced Olympian from the Hockeyroos, competing at her third Games. The side features seven two-time Olympians and eight debutants.

Chasing their fourth Olympic Gold the Hockeyroos have boasted similar success to the Kookaburras, currently ranked third in the world and were the runners up at the inaugural FIH Pro League in 2019.

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Ockenden was confident in the squad selected for Tokyo, noting some great players missed out because of the squad’s depth.

“It’s special and humbling to join those great hockey players who have represented Australia at four Olympics,” Ockenden said.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s my fourth – I’m still excited to make it and excited about the challenge and opportunity ahead.

“We have a really strong squad – some really good players missed out on selection so our depth is huge in the Kookaburras at the moment. We’ve got a good mix of experience and some great young guys coming through with plenty of enthusiasm, so we’ll be confident – we just have to make sure we’re playing our best when we get over there and when it gets to crunch time.”

It’s been a long journey to reach the Olympics for 26-year-old Stephanie Kershaw who will make her Olympic debut after missing Rio due to injury, emphasising how much it meant to make the team.

“I’m over the moon and beyond excited,” Kershaw said.

“It means everything to make this team. It’s obviously a different experience this time around, but I’m grateful for the opportunity and that the Olympics are still going ahead.”

“This Hockeyroos squad all have our common goal to win a gold medal. It’s a really talented group, so it will be awesome to see the kind of performances we can put out in Tokyo.”

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Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch welcomed today’s announcement, stating they can not underestimate their Japanese opponents on the first day of competition.

“Being at our best when we need to be is what it’s all about,” Batch said.

“Our first aim is to qualify for the quarter-finals and we cannot underestimate that. We come up against a determined host country first up who will be nicely acclimatised and very eager to perform well in front of their home crowd, so each match generates a different set of circumstances.

“We’re not looking too far past that first match against Japan.

“We have a really committed squad and of course this team announcement brings some elation but also some disappointment in the group.

“Some players have played well recently and not been selected. We have had limited international matches but the importance and value we place on our daily training environment is also a major part of our assessment.”

Hockeyroos head coach Katrina Powell is no stranger to what it takes to win, being a two-time Olympic champion with the side in 1996 and 2000 she was enthusiastic about the talent she sees in the team this year.

“There is a lot of talent in this group – a lot of potential, drive, enthusiasm and passion, so if we can harness all of that in what will be really tough conditions in Tokyo, you never know what can happen,” Powell said.

“There is some experience that both I and [Assistant Coach] Katie Allen can bring directly to the group. But everyone’s Olympic experience is really different, so these players need to be themselves and be authentic.

“Given the matches we’ve just played against New Zealand and the different combinations on the field in each game, coupled with the team doing well is an indicator of how difficult it was to pick this team. To have those names on the sheet makes Tokyo very real and I’m really excited about the opportunity that’s ahead of us.”

Kookaburras SquadHockeyroos Squad
Daniel BealeEdwina Bone
Tim BrandEmily Chalker
Andrew CharterJane Claxton
Tom CraigSavannah Fitzpatrick
Matthew DawsonKate Jenner
Blake GoversStephanie Kershaw
Jeremy HaywardAmy Lawton
Tim HowardRachael Lynch
Dylan MartinRosie Malone
Trent MittonKaitlin Nobbs
Eddie OckendenBrooke Peris
Flynn OgilvieKarri Somerville
Lachlan SharpPenny Squibb
Joshua SimmondsGrace Stewart
Jake WhettonRenee Taylor
Aran ZalewskiMariah Williams

The selected women’s team is subject to a possible appeal from a non-nominated athlete.

The Kookaburras will kick off the Hockey competition in Tokyo against hosts Japan on the 24th of July, whilst fans will have to wait an extra day to see the Hockeyroos in action when they play against Spain.

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