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Most capped & hungry for more

india Updated: Feb 23, 2012 01:20 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

One has come across many family connections in the Olympic Qualifiers underway at the National Stadium. While the Genestet brothers strike a great combination in the French team, the Rachwalskis - Krzysztof and Dariusz - are an integral part of the Polish men's and women's teams. While Krzysztof coaches the women's team, Dariusz captains the men's side.

The Canadian contingent too has its share of siblings. Derek Jameson is part of the men's team, while elder sister, Stephanie, completed a personal milestone during the course of the tournament.

Stephanie's record
On Sunday, the 30-year-old surpassed the record for the maximum number of caps by a Canadian woman, wearing the national colours 164 times in the course of her decade-long career. Laurelee Kopeck (163 caps) held the previous record.

"I can't believe I've been playing so long," said the defender after scoring the lone goal of the match against Poland on Wednesday. She's added two more caps since Sunday. "It's a nice feeling to be appreciated by team members."

Growing up in a sporting family, she got a hockey stick on her first Christmas. Mother Sue had worn the national colours in the 1970s and currently younger sister, Katie, represents UBC Thunderbirds back home. "I grew up with plenty of sports around me but chose field hockey professionally."

Winds of change
With the sport not too popular back home, this stalwart is trying to change the system. "We are trying to develop a strong junior programme whereby children can get introduced to the sport in elementary school," she says.

Working as a programme coordinator in a community centre, it's a busy life. "Hockey is played more at the club level even in British Columbia where the sport is popular. It's more of a recreational sport and comes nowhere close to the European leagues. Thus, even though there is some support from Sport Canada, we have to support ourselves individually." But they have the support of their parents, many of whom were in the stands on Wednesday to cheer the team.