David Ames is a member of the Great Britain Hockey squad, having made his debut in 2015. He has given an insight into the team’s recent trip to Australia as they continue their preparation for Rio 2016.
TOUR DOWN UNDER
We have just returned from a two and a half week trip to Australia which included a three match test series and training in preparation for the Champions Trophy and Olympic Games. It was an enjoyable but somewhat nervy trip as selection for the Olympic squad is to be announced in a few weeks’ time.
We arrived in Perth and to our apartments, which held four players in each. I had the pleasure of sharing with Mark Gleghorne for the first time since I joined the program; what an experience that was! The apartments were much more entertaining as we had to cook for each other and it also gave us the chance to spend more time with others, rather than a normal hotel trip with just one roommate.
We spent the majority of time in Perth having played two warm up games and one test game while doing most of our training at the National Stadium which was a great venue to play hockey in. Our first two tests took place in a small town called Narragin, which included the opening of the town’s new pitch. Stories of being greeted by giant snakes and spiders before we made our journey to Narragin made most of us slightly cautious on arrival, but due to some of the worst weather conditions most of us have ever played in, they seemed to stay away for that weekend, much to our delight! Narragin put on a great show regardless of the weather and the numbers that braved the conditions to come and watch was pretty incredible.
Games against Australia have always been a battle and so it was great to get some tests games against them before the Champions Trophy and Olympics. They play an aggressive and physical style of hockey which is different to most of the European and Asian nations, so to play them in their own 'backyard' gave us some valuable lessons moving forward.
NEXT STOP: LONDON
We now turn our attention to the Champions Trophy which is being hosted at our home stadium at Lee Valley in the Olympic Park. The boys are very much looking forward to playing in front of a noisy and packed home crowd and it's great for our sport that we have the chance to host such a prestigious tournament at our home venue. It gives the team valuable tournament experience against top ranked teams so close to the Olympic Games. No doubt we will put on a great show like we have done previously and hopefully we can perform to our own expected standards and win the tournament.
The Hockey Champions Trophy for men and women takes place from 10-26 June 2016. For more information and to buy tickets click here.
David Ames is one of 1,300 athletes supported by UK Sport’s National Lottery funded World Class Programme.
Follow David further on his road to Rio on Twitter @DavidAmes5