Maddie Hinch: The best in the world.

“Winning after winning.” The phrase Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry has oft repeated in the wake of his team’s recent medal triumphs. Clearly one of his players has been paying attention as Maddie Hinch has been named FIH Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive time.

“I’m incredibly taken aback by this.” Hinch told the FIH. “Last year was so special and to win it for a second consecutive time is something I never imagined would happen. I was up against some fantastic goalkeepers so it means a huge amount that people voted for me.”

Goalkeeping can be a solitary and at times lonely pursuit where every save and every mistake is under the glare of the spotlight due to the consequences of every action by the custodian. Hinch is a player who seems to relish that challenge and has flourished, in particular in the big pressure situations.

Whilst individual accolades are extremely coveted the No1, who plies her trade at club level with Dutch outfit Stichtse was quick to praise the role of those around her in her success:

“I couldn’t have won it without the support of the people I have around me. I’m surrounded by the most incredible squad of teammates and coaches at Great Britain hockey and they give me the confidence every day to just get out there and perform. I’m extremely grateful to them and everyone else who has played a part in my journey so far.”

Hinch came top of a shortlist containing Aisling D’Hooghe of Belgium, USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs, Dongxiao Li of China and Dutch goalkeeper Anne Veenendaal. She has helped England to a EuroHockey bronze medal and a third place finished at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals during this year, but now, she is keen to look forwards and at the upcoming challenges.

“It was a fantastic year for us as a new squad after Rio. We had a lot of key members step down and we were very much going out to try and express ourselves as a new side. There were more eyes on us because of what we’d done previously but I’m really proud of what we achieved. However we need to be much better between now and what’s ahead of us. It’s a massive summer.”

“I’m really excited. Commonwealth Games is massive and then the World Cup. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. If we do well we could reignite the excitement we saw post-Rio.”

The tournaments of the summer will soon be here, but for now, Hinch can afford herself a day or two to enjoy being voted the World’s Best. Then she’ll be throwing herself fully into the endless pursuit of medals with the rest of Danny Kerry’s squad. After all, it’s all about winning after winning.

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