Lily Owsley: Not your average 21-year-old

Lily Owsley takes on the Australians

Great Britain’s opening pool game at the Summer Olympics in Rio was as big as they come. Old sporting rivals Australia lay in wait and with the importance of getting off to a good start at the forefront of everyone’s minds it was always going to be a night to remember.

For one of the Great Britain players, Lily Owsley, the match marked her debut in the Olympic Games and a dream come true for the Bristolian:

“To say we have been waiting for this game for a long time is an understatement. We have been waiting for it for four years so it is great to get the ball rolling with a win.” said an excited Owsley in the immediate aftermath of GB’s thrilling 2-1 win over the Hockeyroos.

Owsley is the baby of the group at just 21 years of age. A spectator at London 2012, she made her debut in international hockey during the summer of 2013 and since then has added to her CV with an impressive list of accomplishments:

52 England caps; 32 GB caps, 18 international goals, FIH rising Star of the Year 2015 and European gold medallist.

It is not a bad start to what promises to be a long and storied career for the University of Birmingham student.

Lily Owsley takes the congratulations after her goal. Credit FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Surrounded by some of heroes, Owsley has flourished into a top class international player, as evidenced by her scooping the FIH Rising Star Award. Her 18 goals so far on the international circuit have featured a winner against Germany which sealed Rio qualification for GB, the winner against Spain in the European Championship semi-final, THAT equaliser in the European Final against the Netherlands and now a sublime goal on her Olympic debut against Australia. The youngster is cultivating a handy habit of scoring important goals.

“As far as Saturday nights go, making my Olympic debut and scoring probably tops other Saturday nights as a 21 year old, so I am over the moon.” laughed a buoyant Owsley in the mixed zone after the opening victory.

“To get three points in the group stage and to be topping the group is where we want to be. In long tournaments like this, where there are lots games, accumulating points is really important.” she said, switching to her professional head, before once again the enthusiastic bubbly young player comes to the fore: “The whole experience is unbelievable. The village is great, the training is great and Team GB has been amazing at looking after us. I’m so proud just to be out here competing for Team GB.”

Owsley is living out many people’s childhood dream. At such a young age, that is no mean feat. It is safe to say, she is not your average 21 year old.

Tune into BBC Four tonight at 10pm for Great Britain's second match of the campaign against India.

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