Following their defeat by India in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Great Britain men’s captain Adam Dixon has confirmed his retirement from international hockey.
Head coach Danny Kerry also spoke of his pride in the group who improved on their ninth-placed finish from the Rio 2016 Games but were unable to secure the medal they so wanted.
Dixon, who had captained the England and Great Britain teams from the start of 2019, confirmed his retirement from international hockey to the media after the 3-1 loss to India.
The defender steps away from the game after making 290 international appearances (111 for Great Britain, 179 for England) and winning 14 medals, including European gold with England in 2009.
He spoke of his immense pride at leading this group of players, saying: “It’s [been] semi-secret that I’ll hang up my stick internationally. I’ve had 12-13 years as a professional and I am hugely grateful to UK Sport and Lottery funding. I can’t think what life is going to be like, not turning up to the gym, doing what I love and being around my best mates. I’ll still be playing club hockey but it’s such a shame to end internationally on this note. But this group has so much to come.
“In the huddle after the game, Danny just said how proud he was to have led us through a somewhat successful Olympics – it’s not a medal but we’ve gone further than we did in Rio and enjoyed each other’s company. We played with no pressure. We pushed and pushed but it wasn’t to be.
“It’s hard to hide emotions. This is the pinnacle, it hurts not to achieve dreams and ambitions. But in elite sport you have to take the defeats and hopefully the group will use this as a springboard to do something even better. We’ve got a young, exciting group who will only learn from this. Jack Waller, Zach Wallace, Jacob Draper – players like that have got so many years ahead of them and they’re not at their peak yet.
“My family have been so supportive, it would’ve been easy to hang up my stick earlier but I wanted to make sure I put Rio to bed and we’ve really achieved that. It’s been great to be part of Team GB, unfortunately we haven’t got a medal but we’ll be supporting them in the coming days.”
This was a third Olympics for head coach Danny Kerry, who guided the women’s team to gold and bronze at Rio 2016 and London 2012 respectively.
After the game against India, he said: “I am very proud of the lads, but I’m a bit upset. It’s difficult to explain but when you see the lads support each other after the game as they are now, it’s pretty amazing. In many ways that’s as amazing as winning a gold medal. I’m proud of that and what the group have become.”
“I felt that a couple of errors in the first half knocked us out of our stride. We regrouped at half-time and did enough to get back into the game. Unfortunately we weren’t good enough to convert those corners, so now we are where we are.
“The journey in the last six-to-nine months is a credit to the young men and teams take us seriously now. When I took the job I talked about men, magic and moments. The thing I’m most proud of is them being men, looking after one another. They stick together, understand each other, try to hold the judgement of each other, they are good guys and they will come good. I’ve done everything in my gift, within my human possibilities, to take this team and it hasn’t quite worked. I’m old enough and ugly enough to know I can feel good about giving everything I gave.
“This has been the hardest Olympics by some distance. All Olympics are hard but this is why I’m so proud of the blokes; they cracked on. A lot of being at an Olympics is amazing but this one has also been very hard. I don’t know if there’s a sport that goes as long and as hard as we do – there may well be, but we play for most of the whole fortnight. The teams that medal will do eight matches in 13 days and in these conditions it takes something special. But we’ll be better for it.”