Field Hockey Canada (FHC) and head coach Louis Mendonca nominated 18 athletes to represent Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. A mix of veterans and newcomers, they are ready to face the intense pressure that comes with the Olympic Games.
“It has been a seven year struggle to get to these Games during which we did not qualify for any major event and we failed to qualify for Athens 2004,” said Wayne Fernandes who has been dreaming of going to the Olympics since the age of 10. “Qualifying for Beijing is the achievement of a lifetime”.
Anthony Wright, who is a third generation Olympian, will be on the team with his brother Philip, says that his personal goal is to: “make a strong contribution to the team and carry on the family Olympic tradition.” Anthony and Philip will be the 4th and 5th members of their family to compete at Olympic Games. Their mother, father and paternal grandfather have competed in previous Olympics. The Wrights will be joining another pair of siblings on the team: Rob and Peter Short. Rob is Canada’s most experienced player at 271 caps and will serve as team captain.
Scott Sandison, a member of the national team since 2002, who is competing with three metal plates in his jaw after breaking it while competing in March stated: “I want these Games to be the peak of my career. I want to go to Beijing and leave without any regrets”. Sandison wears a mask to protect the injury while it is healing and appreciates all the help he has received to get him back to competing.
“I was at the Olympics in 2000 and had a great experience but I want to appreciate the seven years that it took us to rebuild and get to the point where we are at now…all of that experience,” says Paul Wettlaufer one of the team veterans who has also competed at three Commonwealth and three Pan Am Games.
“These athletes have trained hard for years, they love field hockey and are so proud to be nominated to represent Canada on the Olympic world stage—they will give their absolute best. I am confident that our top-8 goal will be reached at the Beijing Games,” said national team coach Louis Mendonca.
“Qualifying for the 2008 Olympics was a feat in itself because we are a very small nation as far as the game is concerned. We will be meeting nations such as Pakistan that are drawing from pools of millions of players—in Canada we have a pool of 10,000 but we play with heart and soul,” said Canadian team manager Ajay Dube.
“Field hockey has the distinction of being the largest team sport played by both men and women in the world,” said Field Hockey Canada President Mary Cicinelli. “The athletes representing Canada are terrific role models for the sport. Seeing them play at the Olympics will inspire a new generation of players.”
The team will regroup 4-10 July in Vancouver for a training camp. Another camp will be held in Victoria, 17-23 July with an Olympic send off dinner 25 July in Vancouver. On 27 July they depart for Singapore for acclimatization and training. On 4 August they leave Singapore to be in Beijing for the Games. Their first Olympic match is 12 August.
Athletes nominated to the Canadian Olympic Team by FHC are:
Ranjeev Deol, Wayne Fernandes, Connor Grimes, Ravi Kahlon, Bindi Kullar, Mike Mahood, Mark Pearson, Ken Pereira, Scott Sandison, Marian Schole, Peter Short, Rob Short, Sukhwinder “Gabbar” Singh, Scott Tupper, Paul Wettlaufer, Anthony Wright.
Philip Wright, David Carter.
Source: Field Hockey Canada