With anticipation having built across the country as the long seven year wait for London 2012 drew to a close this week, some of Sussex’s fiercest and most talented competitors are chomping at the bit to now take the capital by storm this summer, with the hopes and wishes of a nation resting on their shoulders.
London has become the first city to have hosted the games three times, as the UK looks to round off the summer season’s gripping and contagious enthusiasm, with the Olympic games coming hot on the heels of the Queen’s jubilee celebrations and of course, the European Football Championships.
An estimated 10,500 athletes from 154 countries are scheduled to compete in London this year, with our corner of the UK expected to play a major part in ensuring that Team GB weighs in with a heavy dose of bronze, silver and gold once things wrap-up on 17th August.
Sussex is in line to contribute athletes to Team GB that will be gunning for medals in an open range of disciplines including sailing, judo and badminton.
As the first week of London 2012 begins to come to an end and with medals now coming in thick and fast for Team GB, Ashleigh Ball and her field hockey side will hope to add to that collection with continued success in their tournament.
The women’s hockey team are now within touching distance of the semi-finals following yesterday’s victory over Belgium, which finished 3-0, and included a stunning strike from Brighton’s Ashleigh Ball. The goal was Ball’s first at Olympic level and she has described the moment as “phenomenal”.
To qualify for the semi-finals of London 2012, Ashleigh and her team need only a point from tomorrow’s tie against China. Success tomorrow would guarantee Ashleigh a shot at claiming a medal in her second Olympic games after she made her senior international debut in Beijing four years ago.
The Sussex star has quickly and quietly established herself as one of the key cogs for Team GB’s hockey side and after picking up a silver medal in this year’s Champions Trophy, she’ll be hoping to go one better at London 2012.
Catch Ashleigh in action at 16.00 on August 4th with BBC.