Published: 14:00, 23 March 2021
| Updated: 14:23, 23 March 2021
Kent hockey star Ashley Jackson has decided to take a break from the GB senior programme in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The 33-year-old has represented Great Britain at three Olympic Games and has 250 England and GB appearances to his name, along with 137 international goals.
After a number of recent injuries, GB hockey say the former Holcombe player has made the choice to move on from the programme to focus on his wellbeing and interests away from international hockey.
Jackson, born in Chatham, is a European Championship gold medalist and bronze medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He made his international debut in 2006 but hasn’t ruled out returning to the scene.
He said: “As always it’s been a pleasure to play for my country. Things haven’t worked out quite how I wanted for this summer, however I hope I haven’t put the shirt on for the last time.
"I’d like to thank Danny Kerry (head coach), Ed Barney (performance director), Adam Dixon (captain) and the boys for the memories since my return to the programme and I wish them all the best for the summer from the bottom of my heart.”
Ashley returned to the senior programme in 2019 having taken a break after Rio 2016 – during which time he played ice hockey for Basingstoke Bison. He had already played the sport with the Invicta Dynamos prior to that.
He is set to play for Old Georgians HC when club hockey restarts and also hopes to return to the ice as well.
GB head coach Kerry said: “Following the challenging months within the programme, I understand and respect Ash’s decision to step away. Ash has shown a depth of character and resolve to stand fast and push through a series of rehabilitation and physical conditioning phases.
“During all this time, Ash has contributed in a rich and mature way to the development of his fellow players within the squad. Their hands will be “looser on their sticks” as a result of his time, energy and his experience and for that I know all those who have worked with him during this cycle will be thankful.
“On a personal level I have enjoyed Ash’s company, his passion for the game and seeing the growth in him as a person. I wish Ash well in taking some time to recharge his batteries and I look forward to staying in touch to ‘talk shop’.”