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Ireland hockey captain Mullan "gutted" by Olympic postponement

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15:34 24 Mar 2020

This summer's Olympic Games were supposed to provide an historic moment in Irish hockey, but that moment will have to wait to the disappointment of the Ireland captain and head coach.

Ireland's women's team secured qualification for Tokyo 2020 back in November with a dramatic win over Canada at Energia Park.

In doing so, they became the first ever female Irish side to qualify for a summer Olympic Games.

Tuesday afternoon brought confirmation that Tokyo 2020 has instead been postponed until summer 2021 at the latest due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the Irish women must wait for their next moment in the sun.

Speaking after the IOC's decision, Ireland captain Katie Mullan expressed her disappointment, "As players we are gutted with the announcement to postpone the games as our excitement has been building, however we totally understand why this decision has been made.

"What matters most is players health and wellbeing" she told Hockey Ireland, "as well as our families and friends, and we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy at this difficult time."

Mullan added, "As a team it has been strange doing so much individual training, but everyone has been pushing on with home-gym programmes and trying to increase their fitness with running and cycling.

"This is a big change for so many people, but everyone is the same situation.

"We’ll be doing our best to use this as an opportunity."

Head coach Sean Dancer welcomed the decision to hold the Games over until next year, "The decision to postpone the Games not only puts athlete’s welfare first, but also the welfare of much wider communities and countries.

"These are unprecedented times, and while incredibly stressful for so many, the decision to postpone the Games is one we support.

"Our athletes are continuing to train as much as possible given the current circumstances, and we really look forward to being able to train together as a group again when it is appropriate to do so."

Meanwhile, Irish international Megan Frazer has joined the ever-growing band of sportspeople calling on the Irish public to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Hockey Katie Mullan Olympic Games Olympics Sean Dancer Tokyo 2020

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