Published: 06:00, 18 June 2021
Susannah Townsend’s decision to postpone retirement has paid off after being named in Great Britain’s hockey squad for the Olympic Games.
The Canterbury star, 31, who won gold in Rio five years ago, is one of two players from Kent in the women’s party for Tokyo.
Grace Balsdon, a former Canterbury player who went to school in the city, joins Townsend in the squad.
Townsend told last summer how she had put retirement on hold in a bid to compete at Tokyo.
Having struggled with injuries since the 2016 Games, the midfielder got herself fit and played a key role in Britain's qualification.
Her reward is a place in the squad and the chance to win another gold medal.
“It means the world to be selected for my second Olympic Games,” she said on Twitter.
Defender Balsdon, 28, plays for London club Hampstead & Westminster but her roots are in Canterbury.
This will be her first Olympic Games although she won bronze representing England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia three years ago.
“For many of our Great Britain squad this has been a five-year journey in the making,” said GB women’s coach Mark Hager.
“Narrowing our squad down from 26 has been extremely difficult and highlighted the depth and talent we have.
“I have been humbled by how our entire Great Britain squad has supported each other through the selection process.
“There is a lot of potential in this team and I am very excited to see what this group of not only talented athletes, but exceptional people can bring in Tokyo.
“We have a good balance of experience within the group to draw upon as we continue to challenge each other, and I am looking forward to seeing this group of athletes perform on the world stage."