SAM Quek was in dreamland as Great Britain claimed women’s hockey’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Victory over the defending champions Holland, who hadn’t lost an Olympics since 2004, had looked improbable just two years ago. But they’ve taken themselves from 11th in the world, at the 2014 World Cup, to the top of the world in Rio. Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch will take the headlines for her heroics in a tense 2-0 penalty shoot-out win. But Leeds Beckett University graduate Quek played a key role too as Great Britain went through the entire tournament unbeaten.
“We’ve got such self-belief, it’s an unreal feeling and really hard to describe but as a team we just don’t think that we’ll lose,” said Quek, after the game which Great Britain initially drew 3-3 in normal time after goals from Lily Owsley, Crista Cullen and Nicola White.
“Even when we went down, I looked around and I saw that belief in people’s faces, we just knew we were going to win this.
“We came into this tournament knowing that we had ticked every single box in preparation. We are such a tight-group and we couldn’t have prepared better.
“Maddie is the best goalkeeper in the world. I made an overly-excited tackle at the beginning and gave away a penalty and she bailed me out then. It’s a team performance and everybody’s doing her job. I’m not taking this medal off, I’m going sleep with it forever.”
Two bronze medals – at the 1992 and 2012 Games – were the women’s team’s best return from an Olympics, while it’s 28 years since Sean Kerly and co won the men’s title in Seoul.
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