Great Britain Hockey is delighted to announce that goalkeeper Ollie Payne has been called up to the men’s senior squad in the lead up to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
The 21-year-old has been offered a place on the programme alongside fellow goalkeepers George Pinner and Harry Gibson and joined the squad when they returned to training at Bisham Abbey last month.
The former Dart HC shot stopper is another to graduate from the GB Elite Development Programme (EDP) into the senior set up, joining the likes of Jacob Draper, Charlotte Watson, Esme Burge and Jack Waller in making the transition.
With the potential for a whole host of fixtures to take place in the not too distant future – including the conclusion of the delayed 2020 FIH Pro League season, a EuroHockey Championship and then the Olympics – Payne cannot wait for the opportunity to test himself against the world’s best.
“I feel very happy to be selected and called into the squad,” the newly announced Holcombe HC player said.
“It’s good fun. Obviously it’s the highest standard you can get in this country so it’s very challenging but it’s very fun trying to see if you can get up to that standard.
“In the short term I just want to get involved in the programme and get up to the level and pace of the game. Then hopefully I can make my debut at some point with the Olympics in mind.
“In the medium and long term, the home Commonwealth Games is something that’s a really big target for a me in a couple of years and then hopefully the Olympic Games after that.”
This is the latest achievement in what has been a highly successful two-year period for Payne, who won the 2018 and 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup with Great Britain’s U21s and was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament on both occasions.
He also played a crucial role as England’s U21 men secured a memorable silver medal at last year’s Junior EuroHockey Championships. Payne also experienced plenty of highs during his time with Durham University as well, starring as they won the 2018 BUCS Men’s Championship final before helping them earn promotion to the Men’s Premier Division earlier this year.
GB men’s head coach Danny Kerry said: “I’m delighted Ollie has been able to take up a place with the squad. He has been in our thinking and planning for some time and we are delighted that he is able to join the programme following on from his studies at Durham University.”
Great Britain’s men and women are currently partaking in a phased Return To Training programme as they prepare for the potential return of the FIH Hockey Pro League later this year.
After the league was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new fixture list was released last week that sees both teams travel to The Netherlands and Belgium in late October/early November. We will then host matches against Germany on 14-15 November before welcoming Argentina, China, India, Spain and the USA next summer.