Lorna Mackenzie targeting a senior call to arms
Shropshire hockey player Lorna Mackenzie hopes she can capitalise on Great Britain’s struggles in the FIH Pro League to break into the senior squad sooner rather than later.
The 18-year-old from Lilleshall has already marked herself out as one for the future after winning bronze with England at the EuroHockey U18 Youth Championships last summer.
She went on to earn her first caps for Great Britain at U18 level and is now targeting a place in England squad for the EuroHockey Junior Championships later this year.
But with Great Britain’s women enjoying mixed fortunes in the Pro League, which serves as qualification for the Olympics, Mackenzie admits she also has one eye on getting a senior call-up.
“At the moment there is the Pro League going on but GB are not doing too well so it’s kind of our age group and the age group above me trying to break into the squad at the moment,” she said. “It’s one of those things where they are trying to give juniors an opportunity and my current under-23 GB and under-21 England coach is Hannah Macleod. She’s got an Olympic gold medal from Rio and it’s great we’ve got those people at our fingertips to help us and give us guidance to help try and break into that squad.
“I would love to get my GB senior cap as soon as possible. At the end of 2020 they will select a group of 30 athletes who will get Lottery funding.
“They tend to keep that squad of 30 throughout the whole four years although that does depend on injuries and they will bring in new people if they’ve developed enough.
“So Tokyo 2020 is probably a bit too soon, especially as I’m only 18, they tend to wait until you’re around 20, 23 and then take you to an Olympics then – so that’s my aim.”
And with the experience she gained from winning bronze at the Youth Championships under her belt, the Haberdashers Adams pupil insists the sky is the limit for her.
“There are U21 Euros this year for the women’s hockey and I would really like to get selected for that and go even though I’m three years younger,” she said. “I am also aiming to be part of the Great Britain EDP (Elite Development Programme) for the under-23 squad as I would like to be part of that properly.
“I would love to be an Olympian. I want to go to as many World Championships and Commonwealth Games as possible.”
Mackenzie was speaking at a SportsAid workshop being hosted in partnership with GVC – the multi-national sports betting and gaming group – at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.
GVC are supporting 50 athletes across 33 sports, with each one receiving a financial award and personal development opportunities through SportsAid.