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Local children join Olympic champions to start 100-day countdown to World Cup

PUBLISHED: 10:30 13 April 2018

Olympic champions Hannah McLeod, Georgie Twigg, Nicola White and Shona McCallin joined over 100 schoolchildren to mark the 100 days countdown to the Vitality Hockey Womens World Cup at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre (pic Kois Miah)

Olympic champions Hannah McLeod, Georgie Twigg, Nicola White and Shona McCallin joined over 100 schoolchildren to mark the 100 days countdown to the Vitality Hockey Womens World Cup at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre (pic Kois Miah)

Kois Miah

Over 100 schoolchildren from east London clubs were at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre with four Olympic gold medalists to celebrate the 100-day countdown until the start of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup.

Olympic champions Shona McCallin and Nicola White with local schoolchildren and the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup trophy at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre (pic Kois Miah)Olympic champions Shona McCallin and Nicola White with local schoolchildren and the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup trophy at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre (pic Kois Miah)

Shona McCallin, Nicola White, Georgie Twigg and Hannah McLeod were part of Great Britain’s squad at the 2016 Rio Games and joined youngsters from East London, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, Crostyx, Old Loughts, Redbridge and Upminster to mark the date.

And McCallin, who missed out on a place in England’s squad for the Commonwealth Games due to injury, said: “As players we enjoy giving back to the community, especially in East London where we play so much of our international hockey.

“It’s great to give back to the kids who living within a couple of miles of the ground. With the World Cup coming up I really hope it reaches people who maybe don’t get that opportunity to see hockey much and may be first-timers to the sport.

“Have a go, pick a stick up and try it, because as players we want to grow the sport.”

Olympic champion Georgie Twigg in action with schoolchildren at a special event to mark the 100 days countdown to the Vitality Hockey Womens World Cup at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis CentreOlympic champion Georgie Twigg in action with schoolchildren at a special event to mark the 100 days countdown to the Vitality Hockey Womens World Cup at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre

The Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup trophy was on display where many adults and children got a chance to get up close and personal with the most sought-after piece of silverware in women’s international hockey.

From March to October 2017 in London alone, England Hockey delivered 135 hourly-coached sessions in 38 schools, engaging 1,140 children.

MacLeod, who has since retired from international hockey, added: “The enthusiasm and excitement for the World Cup is just amazing. 100 days is still a long way to go, but the appetite for hockey in this country and around the world is really growing.

“It’s amazing to see so many kids having fun and enjoying themselves. Five, six years ago we would never have been able to run anything like this.

Olympic champion Hannah McLeod gives advice to youngsters at a special event to mark 100 days until the Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis CentreOlympic champion Hannah McLeod gives advice to youngsters at a special event to mark 100 days until the Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre

“But we’ve had so many more players turn up than we were expecting, which is testament to how much the sport is growing in this country.”

The Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup takes place from July 21 to August 5 and England face India, the USA and Ireland in Pool B as a total of 16 world-class teams will be welcomed to the biggest women’s hockey event in the world at Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

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