Proud England captain Kate Richardson-Walsh insists she has no intention of slowing down just yet after being made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
The 34-year-old has enjoyed a glittering 15-year career, accumulating over 330 appearances for both England and Great Britain and winning medals at European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic level.
The latest of those came last summer as Richardson-Walsh marked her fourth Commonwealth Games with silver as well as being chosen as Team England’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony.
It was the fourth Commonwealth Games medal of her career following on from silver at Manchester 2002 before consecutive bronzes in Melbourne and Delhi.
The defender opted to take a sabbatical away from hockey following the Commonwealth Games final in Glasgow – a game in which they lost out to Australia in the final seven seconds of the match – but this month returned to full training with the Great Britain team.
And after her services to hockey were recognised in the New Year’s Honours List, Richardson-Walsh admitted she intends to keep involved for as long as possible.
“It’s so hard to sum up in words, but I feel really proud and just so lucky to be able to do the job I do,” she said.
“I want to do it for as long as I can. I’ve had so many lovely messages from teammates past and present, friends and family; I could never have achieved any of this without their support.
“I feel so privileged to be part of the ever growing hockey family, this sport is so special because of all the volunteers who give up their time to inspire people like me to pick up a stick.
“I’d also like to thank UK Sport and the lottery and everyone who buys a ticket each week to support so many athletes to do the jobs we do.”
Richardson-Walsh was not the only one recognised for services to hockey with former international player, coach and performance analyst Maggie Souyave also made an OBE.
Souyave was England head coach for the 1998 Commonwealth Games during which the team came away with silver while she was responsible for giving Richardson-Walsh her debut in 1999.
The pair were also working together in Glasgow with Souyave carrying out performance analysis duties before retiring after the team’s silver medal success.
Richardson-Walsh added: “Maggie taught me pretty much everything I needed to know about being the best I could be.
“She started it all off for me when I was 15 playing at Bowdon Hightown and then giving me my first England cap in 1999.
“She’s had such an incredible career in this sport and certainly helped me to understand what it would take to stay at the top of my game. If I can achieve a tiny bit of what Maggie has achieved across the 40 years she’s been involved in the sport then I will be very proud.”
© Sportsbeat 2015