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Ipswich hockey star Hannah Martin excited to represent Team England at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

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The Hannah Martin bound for Birmingham 2022 is a very different person physically and mentally to the one who was preparing for her last multi-sport Games.

The Ipswich hockey star, who is part of the England side that has reached the quarter-final of the ongoing Hockey World Cup, fought back from a broken leg and ankle ligament damage just four months before last summer’s Tokyo Olympics to stand on the podium as a bronze medallist.

She will now embark on her second Commonwealth Games, the last one on the Gold Coast also producing bronze, but will hope for a smoother ride this time.

Hannah Martin is looking forward to the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Phil Noble
Hannah Martin is looking forward to the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Phil Noble

“It was a huge setback and I had setback after setback with little injuries before, but I think I've learned how to take a setback as an opportunity as well and how I can develop in other areas,” she said.

“Watch a lot of videos, do more strength work on other parts of my body, making sure I'm robust enough when I come back and play eight games in 13 days in 40-degree heat.

“I always saw it as an opportunity to still be very much up there physically and it makes you really appreciate the time you do have on the field even more, which I think is really important.

“And that's why out there in Tokyo I just tried to enjoy every second and just play with freedom.”

The 27-year-old now has her sights set on a home Games and Birmingham will feel well and truly like home as she returns to the city where she went to university.

Martin represented the University of Birmingham during her time as a student before making her senior international debut in 2017.

She became the second member of her family to represent England in hockey following in the footsteps of older brother Harry who also claimed bronze with the men’s team in 2018.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Martin hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

Martin added: “It feels amazing, being able to compete at Birmingham where I went to university makes it doubly special.

“I absolutely loved my experience out on the Gold Coast with Team England and I’m just really excited for what's to come this summer.

“We've got an incredibly exciting team, lots of new talent coming in but still some experienced heads so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I think it'll be really nostalgic, apparently we are staying in the student accommodation as well, so obviously I'll be right at home there.

“I had just the most incredible three years there, it's a huge part of my hockey development and me as a person as well. I’m just incredibly excited to get out there and hopefully have some good old Brummy support.”

Martin is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

The women’s hockey side have successfully evolved from the team that won gold at Rio 2016, with fresh faces aplenty they prepare for a summer with a World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

Despite the new nature of the team, Martin is positive about what is possible as Team England search for a first Commonwealth gold medal in the sport.

“We're definitely aiming for gold, I think you would be silly not to, and we've got hugely talented team, and I'm really excited about where we can go,” Martin said.

“Obviously, it's still quite early days. It's funny because the Olympics got postponed and within a year, you've got two major tournaments in a summer, what an amazing opportunity, but also, you're still gelling together as a team.

“We've all come from different parts, a few of us have been out in Holland, a few people have been working or studying, so coming together again, full time, it's been amazing.

“There's so much good energy around the group, so many people bring lots of different strengths and I'm just really excited to see what we can do in the summer.”

* National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.