London 2012: Hockey star pleased with start
10:05 02 August 2012
Team GB women’s hockey team going for gold at 2012 Olympics after wins over Japan and South Korea
Team GB hockey star Helen Richardson admitted she had to pinch herself after leading her side to victory on Tuesday evening.
The 30-year-old took to the Riverbank Arena for the second time during London 2012 with her side looking to beat South Korea and to build on an opening 4-0 victory over Japan just 48 hours earlier.
However this time Richardson, who is from Hitchin, did so wearing the captain’s armband with regular skipper Kate Walsh still in hospital after going through surgery on her jaw after being hit with a hockey stick in the opening win.
And despite Team GB making hard work of it, with South Korea leveling the score at 3-3 in the latter stages after Britain had taken a 3-1 lead, Richardson led her side to a 5-3 victory as they maintained their 100 per cent record to put them on course for a strong Pool A campaign.
This is Richardson’s third Games having played at both Beijing four years ago and Sydney in 2000, but she admitted that leading the team out at a home Olympics, in front of a wonderful partisan crowd, has blown everything that has gone before out of the water.
“Leading any team is brilliant but to lead the Great Britain team at a home Olympic Games is really special,” Richardson said.
“It was obviously not how I would have liked it with Kate getting injured but the team really stepped up and everyone was fantastic and we have a great team with plenty of character.
“Korea are a very good team so to beat them by two goals and to give the crowd a 5-3 thriller was fantastic.
“We had no doubt that we could win this game even when South Korea leveled things late in the game.
“We knew there was plenty of time and we just had to hold out at the end and play the minutes down and take our chances and we did.
“Yes this wasn’t as comfortable as the opening game but this is what tournament hockey is all about and that is why we do the strength and conditioning programme that we do, we are a very fit team.”
Britain raced into a 3-1 lead thanks to goals from Nicola White, Crista Cullen and Alex Danson, only for Korea to draw level with just 10 minutes remaining.
However late goals from Georgie Twigg and Chloe Rogers saw Britain over the line, and Richardson was quick to praise the home fans for playing their part.
“It was amazing the support we got,” she added. “The crowd are absolutely unbelievable and when we went to 3-3 who could hear them roar and it really lifted us.”
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