Changes to GB women's squad in lead up to Tokyo 2020

GB Women Anthem 2019 FIH OQ
After qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the women’s programme sees a number of changes with two players having been called in and two players released. 

The programme is delighted to welcome Charlotte Watson and Leah Wilkinson on a full-time basis, with both having both made their GB debuts in recent months and played in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

Leah is the most capped Welsh team athlete of all-time having made 169 appearances. She has also captained the team since 2017 and helped them secure a famous 3-2 win over India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games before making her GB debut against India in October 2019. Leah will be taking a sabbatical from her full-time job as a history teacher at Ewell Castle School in order to train full-time with the squad in the build-up to Tokyo 2020.

Charlotte, 21, received her first GB call-up for a two-Test trip to Japan back in July before scoring her first goal in her third cap against India last month. She was also part of the Scotland side that won gold at the 2019 EuroHockey Championships II in Glasgow, scoring the winner in the final to secure the title having already helped them book promotion back to the top tier for 2021. Charlotte has suspended her fourth year studying Accountancy and Finance at the University of Dundee to commit to the programme full-time. 

Meanwhile both Erica Sanders and Suzy Petty will be leaving the programme. With just eight months to go until Tokyo, a number of more targeted selections and deselections have taken place aimed at maximising the team’s performance in Tokyo.

Having joined the programme at the beginning of the cycle, Erica made her first senior international appearance against South Africa in February 2017, scoring on her debut. She featured at the 2017 World League Final, 2018 Champions Trophy and in several FIH Pro League matches but has not played since June.

A Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Suzy has featured in a number of tournaments for England and Great Britain since 2017. This includes last year’s Champions Trophy and the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup held in London, where England played each of their games in front of 10,000 raucous fans.

Great Britain Hockey’s Performance Director, Ed Barney commented: “This period of the cycle is always difficult as our focus and attention narrows on Tokyo. We are sorry to see Erica and Suzy go and wish them all the very best over the coming months and years.

"Erica and Suzy’s commitment has been unwavering, not only through their senior programme time, but also through their extensive involvement in junior international hockey. As with all athlete transitions, we look forward to supporting them to the best possible extent over the coming months”.

“We are delighted that Leah and Charlotte are joining the programme on a full-time basis. This is real credit to all their hard work, perseverance and commitment. It’s a pleasure to see the increase in Welsh and Scottish representation across the senior programme and is a real reflection of Scottish Hockey, Hockey Wales and the GB Elite Development Programme.

"We wish Leah and Charlotte all the very best over the coming months as they strive to maximise the programme and vie for Olympic selection”. 

Great Britain Hockey would like to thank Erica and Suzy for all their contributions over the last three years and we wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

Great Britain Hockey will compete in the second season of the FIH Pro League in the run up to the all important 2020 Olympics. Join #ThePride and support Leah, Charlotte and the rest of the GB women’s team in their preparations. For more information on the FIH Pro League, click here.