Chris Griffiths has admitted feeling ‘pretty upset’ after injury ruled him out of a second major tournament in three years.
A regular in the England and GB teams this Olympic cycle – winning European and Commonwealth bronze medals – the forward had looked a strong candidate to make the squad heading to India for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup later this month.
But a foot injury – sustained in the final quarter of the final game during the recent Four Nations tournament in Valencia – has put a halt to the East Grinstead player’s chances of making his World Cup debut.
This draws immediate parallels with the knee injury he suffered shortly before Rio 2016 that him out of the sport for nearly a year and, while this latest injury is much less serious, it was enough to ensure he won’t be on the plane to Bhubaneswar.
“I knew straight away it wasn’t going to be a fairly quick return – normally I say down for a bit but this one I stayed down for longer, started to get up but couldn’t really put much weight on it,” the 28-year-old recalled.
“At the time it wasn’t as bad [as the previous injury] and I didn’t really think about it but after the scan and hearing the news that I would not be going to the World Cup it brought back really strong memories of Rio.
“I was pretty upset to be honest, last Tuesday was quite a hard day and it has been a pretty tough week knowing that I would not be going to the World Cup because of another injury.”
While missing out on yet another major event has left him frustrated once again, Griffiths also said the forthcoming FIH Pro League has given him something to look forward to and has eased the disappointment.
With Great Britain’s men beginning their campaign away to Spain on 25 January, the former Loughborough Students captain is ready to put in all the necessary work to ensure he is ready for that fixture.
“With the FIH Pro League starting so soon that has helped because there is that clear focus now whereas before there wasn’t anything to look forward to after Rio until the Europeans about a year later.
“But with this there is a clear focus at the end it of – the Pro League fixture against Spain. Mentally this is a good thing for me because, while I’m obviously frustrated that I won’t be at the World Cup, there is that next thing to look forward to.”
Griffiths also stated that he was eagerly anticipating watching his team-mates aim to win their first World Cup medal since 1986 between 28 November – 16 December and is confident they can go far in the tournament.
With Danny Kerry now in charge of the men’s team and several exciting young players set to make their major tournament debut, Griffiths believes his team-mates will give their opponents a stern test and play some attractive hockey.
“I am looking forward to seeing how we are going to be playing,” he said.
“Since Danny has come in we have changed how we play and having been a part of that it is exciting – we have got a completely different style and I think it is working well for us.
“So it is going to be interesting to see how we get on against different nations but it should be exciting.”