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Defroand excited by Gold Coast challenge

PUBLISHED: 18:30 05 April 2018

England's Emily Defroand (pic Scott Heavey/PA)

England's Emily Defroand (pic Scott Heavey/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Havering’s Emily Defroand was excited to get started with the England women’s hockey team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, writes Lee Power.

Former Coopers pupil Defroand, 23, was called into the 16-strong squad just prior to departure, but said emotions have to be kept in check as they chase a medal Down Under.

“Excitement is good, but having that realisation that this is your job, what we’re here to do,” she said.

“We are chosen to represent England and GB Hockey and ultimately we want to be the best in the world, so success is vital in terms of the outcomes that we get in these tournaments.

“You’ve got to enjoy what you do and be excited every time you step on the pitch and if you lose that it’s worrying, but I’m absolutely loving it at the moment, really enjoying it.

“It’s always so competitive, with elite sport. It’s the best job in the world, but at times it’s totally brutal and selection is part and parcel of that.

“Sometimes it goes in your favour, sometimes it doesn’t. This time has been a bit of an interesting one but it’s part of the reality of elite sport. It’s something we have to deal with as individuals and as a team.”

England started with a 2-0 win over South Africa in the early hours of yesterday (Thursday) morning, with other group games against Wales (Friday), India (Sunday) and Malaysia (Monday) in an intense five-day period.

But Defroand says they will handle it, adding: “It’s part and parcel of it and why we work so hard day in, day out at Bisham, to make sure we get our bodies in the position where we can take that toll, cope with four group games in a few days and classification games off the back of that.

“We’re very fortunate to have that exposure that hopefully will give us an extra advantage that some of the countries that don’t have that luxury.”

Despite competing on the other side of the world, Defroand and her team-mates know they will be able to count on lots of support back home and in the stands.

“I’m very lucky in that my mum and dad managed to get tickets for all the group games to come and watch us,” added Defroand, who has 25 England caps and four GB caps so far.

“I’m sure they will be very proud, it’s nice there is quite a lot of parents and families of the other girls going out as well, so we will be well supported.

“I’m loving it. This is what I’ve dreamt about since I started playing. I’m in a fortunate position to be able to train day in day out as a full-time athlete at Bisham Abbey.

“Not many people can say they get that opportunity so I’m taking every day as it comes, wanting to get better and better and improving as a hockey player is in the forefront of my mind in everything I do.

“I’m happy with how I’m progressing and have obviously been very fortunate over the last year or so to get that tournament exposure and play the best teams in the world and I’m loving being a part of it.”

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