Duchess Kate visits Brit Olympic hockey squad
The Duchess of Cambridge met the British women’s and men’s hockey squad during her visit to the Olympic Park in Stratford.entertainment Updated: Mar 17, 2012 13:57 IST
The Duchess of Cambridge met the British women’s and men’s hockey squad during her visit to the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Duchess Kate, 30, asked to meet them in her role as Team GB and Paralympics GB 2012 Ambassador because of her love for the sport.
She has played since junior school and was captain of the 1st 11 at Marlborough College.
She was said to be “very excited” about her visit to the Olympic Park.
Both the women’s and men’s teams are ranked 4th in the world and have high medal hopes.
“We are six weeks away from team selection and are going into the Olympics in a really strong place,” the Daily Mail quoted performance director David Faulkner, who was a member of the 1988 Olympic gold medal squad, as saying.
“We are delighted that the Duchess has asked to visit us. It’s a real boost to morale and has caused a real buzz within the squad,” he said.
She arrived at the blue and fluorescent pink pitch in a mini bus after taking a brief tour of the park.
The Duchess was wearing eye-catching skin tight coral three quarter length jeans, blue heels and a smart blue blazer with an official Team GB supporters’ scarf.
She first met with the physios and coaches and chatted knowledgeably about training methods.
“I used to play at school and I remember my muscles at the beginning of the season were agony.
“Do you still get bananas and oranges at half time? I don’t know if that was purely a school thing? I was striker so you had to get the timing exactly right, well that was the idea. I played on the left wing. I really enjoyed it and it is great to be here.
“I haven’t played since I stopped so I am really nervous now,” she said.
The Duchess chatted with the women’s team players.
“I really hoped to be here, I would love to see you play in the games. Now I have seen the set up and got to see behind the scenes it would be really exciting to come back and see everyone in action. Good luck with everything,”
“I was really looking forward to coming here but now I am here and have discovered I have to play. I am not feeling so confident.
“The colour of the pitch is, well, eye-catching. My trousers really clash. I hope you are all feeling fit and well and prepared for the summer.
‘The last time I played was 2005, maybe. It feels like I haven’t held a stick for ten years. This is going to be so embarrassing. My brain thinks I can do all these wonderful things but my body just doesn’t play ball,” she said.
She then went to get changed, keeping on her jeans but swapping her blazer for a grey GB sweatshirt and Adidas trainers.
As she walked to the pitch, a water based AstroTurf known by the players as ‘smurf turf’ she looked nervous, particularly when she saw the crowd.
“Oh please don’t tell me I have to do it in front of all these people,” she laughed. “I don’t want anyone to watch!”
She was handed a stick to keep by the team’s sponsor, Adidas, and played a bit of stick and ball.
“Wow, she clearly knows what she is doing,” said one official.
“I am genuinely impressed,” he added.
Duchess Kate was playing with captains Kate Walsh, 31, and Barry Middleton, 28, plus Emily Maguire, 24, and Niall Stott, 31.
She took three shots at goal from the left hand side of the goal mouth and missed. She was then moved to the centre and scored first time, prompting loud applause.
As she came off she said, “Wow that was no pressure then. I was determined to keep on going until I scored.”
She was handed a white sleeveless team top with ‘Cambridge 1’ on the back and a polo style shirt for her husband.
“Is this your actual kit? It seems very lightweight,” she asked.
“Thank you so much it has been a great experience. Nerve wracking but great. I really miss playing,” she said.
Afterwards, Kate Walsh was all praises for her
“Actually she was really good. She told me that she missed playing as part of a team. She also told me that she used to hit the penalty corners and you could see that. She got low and her shots were really sweet.
“We put her too far out to the left on goal but we was determined to keep going until she got one in.
“It takes a bit of getting used to after such a long time away from the game,” Walsh added.
First Published: Mar 16, 2012 13:54 IST