Crista Cullen says mental attitude can help Team GB’s hockey progress

Crista Cullen.
Crista Cullen.

BOSTON’S two hockey hopefuls got their gold rush off to a great start.

Crista Cullen and Hannah Macleod are both members of the Team GB women’s hockey side who have began their London 2012 bid by hammering Japan 4-0 on Sunday and South Korea 5-3 on Tuesday.

Cullen started both games in defence while striker Macleod – who was also born in Boston – was a substitute.

After helping the GB team rise from eighth in the world rankings to fourth ahead of the games, Cullen is keen for the side to punch above their weight and get on the podium.

“Having worked so hard for this over four years, I feel like we are ready, and what better opportunity to put hockey back on the map,” she said.

The 27-year-old - who left Boston for Kenya, before returning to Lincolnshire to study in Oakham - says that consistency is the key to success.

She added: “We have trained with a gold-medal-winning mentality throughout our preparations, so new are very much in the hunt for medals, especially the gold.

We are ranked fourth in the world and have risen from eighth consistently being in the medals for the last three years, so things are looking positive.

“We just need to make sure we perform consistently throughout.

“You have to believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your dream.”

Cullen was GB’s top scorer as the side finished sixth in the Beijing Games four years ago.

But for 28-year-old Macleod, this is her first Olympic experience, despite making her international debut nine years ago.

As one of those who has missed out in the past, she knows how important it is to take your chance.

This is also stressed by Cullen, who added: “It is a huge honour to be picked for any Olympic team, but to be picked for a home Olympics is just incredible.

“It is hard when 28 athletes train full time and only 16 get picked.

“I hope we are able to do those who missed out proud.”

The two Boston-born players didn’t, however, grow up in the area, with Macleod now residing in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Both, however, have something else in common, as they both play for the Leicester club.

Georgie Twigg, born in Lincoln, completes a trio of Yellowbellies in the women’s squad.

Alford’s Glenn Kirkham is captaining the men’s team.

The women are back on the blue and pink pitch, nicknamed the ‘Smurf turf’, today, facing Belgium (7pm).

This is followed by Pool A matches against China (Saturday, 4pm) and the Netherlands (Monday, 7pm).

Cullen was talking to Championing Lincolnshire, the Lincs Sports Partnership’s online magazine about the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is now online at www.championinglincolnshire.co.uk

The issue features interviews with the 16 Lincolnshire athletes who will be representing Team GB over the summer, top tips and ideas of getting involved with the Games from the comfort of your own home, photographs from the Olympic Torch Relay in Lincolnshire and much more.