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Newark: Adam Dixon and Shona McCallin selected for GB hockey squads for Tokyo Olympics

Former Newark Hockey Club players Adam Dixon and Shona McCallin have been selected for the GB hockey teams for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

For Shona, of Dry Doddington, it is a chance to defend the gold medal she won in Rio in 2016, while Adam, who also played in Brazil, will captain the men's team.

Adam is taking notes from Andrew Strauss in his bid to lead Team GB to hockey glory in Tokyo, writes Tom Harle, of Sportsbeat.

FIH Pro League, Lee Valley H&TC, London, 9th June 2019. Great Britain vs Australia. Great Britain’s Adam Dixon scores his shoot-out attempt (32742756)
FIH Pro League, Lee Valley H&TC, London, 9th June 2019. Great Britain vs Australia. Great Britain’s Adam Dixon scores his shoot-out attempt (32742756)

The Newark star is one of only four returning Olympians tasked with helping Britain rise from the ashes of a group stage exit in Rio to a podium finish this summer.

Australia are the team to beat and that's not the only similarity between England's cricketers and Dixon's charges as they prepare for the Games.

"We've had some amazing insight from different captains in different sports in the last year and Strauss was the one that stuck in my mind," said Dixon.

FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2019 (32742937)
FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2019 (32742937)

"He said building up to the Ashes against Australia, it was all about creating a sense of momentum around his leadership. That is what we've tried to do.

"We've not done it overtly in terms of targeting to win certain games, but we've been simmering away under the surface and we're now tracking in the right direction.

"We've been chipping away at world rankings and trying to make a nuisance of ourselves on the world stage in the last few years. We're trying to bridge the gap to the top three or four sides in the world.

"I feel like we're in a good spot, we're certainly not favourites and we like that. Let's hope for an underdog story."

The 34-year-old has also looked to the only man to ever lead Britain to Olympic hockey gold for advice on how to captain his country.

Richard Dodds skippered Team GB to historic gold at Seoul 1988, a victory that made national treasures out of Sean Kerly, Imran Sherwani and Ian Taylor.

Dodds visited the GB training camp at Bisham Abbey to offer some pearls of wisdom and while some of the younger squad members didn't recognise him, Dixon hung on his every word.

"Richard told me that going into that tournament, they were known as the team that everybody hated to play against it," he added.

"If that's what we have to do in Tokyo, to ruffle a few feathers, absolutely we will do it.

"We can get under the skin of the best teams in the world, who are used to setting the momentum in games and having it all their own way."

Dixon's side will meet the world's top teams head on in their group stage campaign, which begins on 24 July.

World Cup winners Belgium, European champions Netherlands and Germany ­— who have won two of the last three Olympic titles ­— all await in a fiendish preliminary draw.

"We're going to have to be right on the money from the word go with the group we've got," said Dixon, whose Team GB exploits will be broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+.

"But if we can get through to the quarter-finals, we might have an easier route to a medal with the teams in the other group.

"We've known about this pool for such a long time now, we know how these teams are going to play and it's a case of getting out there and delivering now."

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