Olympic Champion Shona McCallin MBE has made the decision to retire from international hockey after a career that has seen her achieve gold medals at Olympic, European and Commonwealth Games levels.
McCallin made her Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games having been part of the 2015 European gold medal-winning team in London.
McCallin is also one of only a handful of players to have won back-to-back Olympic hockey medals after qualifying for Tokyo 2020 and winning bronze with the team.
After careful consideration and 122 caps, McCallin has decided now is the right time to take a step away from international competition.
“Today, I announce my retirement from international hockey,” McCallin said. “This decision has not come lightly, but after many hours of thought, I know now the time is right. They say when you know, you know.
“Over the last 10 years, interspersed with more injuries than I would have liked, I have been fortunate to be part of some of the most successful of times with GB and England: Olympic, Commonwealth and European gold medals plus an Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo. Being able to share these moments with teammates, staff, friends and family will stay with me forever.
“However, over the last few months, I’ve come to realise that the mental and physical energy required to be part of the centralised program is just not there anymore. I am not, and will never be, someone who can only commit to something 80% or 90%.
“After careful consideration, and consultation with family and close friends, I have decided that it is time to hang up my stick when it comes to international hockey. It’s time to pass the number 24 shirt to someone new, who I hope can wear it with the same pride, grit and determination I did in every single game. Train hard so matches are easier.”
McCallin took up the sport at just six-years-old at the Newark Otters and Beavers club and never looked back. She was a successful member of England Hockey’s U16, U18 and U21’s teams and also captained the U21 team to the Junior World Cup.
“I am incredibly thankful for the support I’ve received recently whilst making this difficult decision, especially from my family and close friends,” McCallin said. “Some have been with me from the very start when I was 6-year-old Shona starting at Newark Hockey Club.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to my coaches, teammates, and all the staff who have been a part of my hockey journey. Many are friends for life, and that is the power that sport can have.”
McCallin won’t be saying goodbye to the sport completely and will be representing her club as a player and a coach at the England Hockey Premier Division.
“I am not saying goodbye to the world of hockey entirely,” McCallin concluded. “I am continuing to play and coach with Reading Hockey Club whilst continuing to put effort into my new supplement business, The Ten Per Cent Club. I am excited about what the future will hold.
“As the Great Britain squad work towards an important part of their Paris Qualification journey, I want to wish the players and staff all the best for the upcoming months.”
England and Great Britain Hockey Performance Director, Ed Barney, said: “Shona has made a phenomenal contribution to England and Great Britain Hockey through a period of true women’s excellence. Her contribution to European, Commonwealth and Olympic titles and a vibrant, values driven programme has been truly exceptional.
“It is no coincidence that Shona’s tenacity, game intellect and individual skills has mirrored the brightest period of women’s hockey in recent decades. We will miss Shona, but we wish her every success and contentment in all her future ventures. I have no doubt she will continue to tread new paths, inspire future generations and thrive in whatever she pursues.”