An Olympic medallist was at Oundle School this week passing on tips to young hockey players.
Anne Panter, GB hockey player and bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics, visited the school to speak to the first and second form pupils (Years 7 and 8) and also to the Sixth Form A level Sports Science groups.
Panther spoke about her playing career and how she had progressed into the 2012 squad. While a pupil at Wellingborough School, she was encouraged by one of her PE teachers to join Kettering Hockey Club. She then went on to play for England Under 16s at the age of 13, Under 18s at 15 and got her first senior cap at 18. Her club career progressed to playing for the highly successful Leicester Hockey Club who had three other players in the 2012 squad.
Despite some serious injuries and long lay-offs, Panter recovered to continue to play at the highest level and also represented GB at the Beijing Olympics. Despite receiving a mouth injury in 2012, she recovered from this to help GB win bronze against New Zealand.
Panter spoke to Oundle’s pupils about players and teams that she had played against and the various setbacks suffered by the squad, such as the serious injury to Kate Walsh, the captain, who returned to play and lead the team to the bronze medal play-off match.
Panter handed her medal around so that pupils could get a closer look, took a Q&A session with the pupils whose questions ranged from ‘how did she balance school and sport commitments, nutrition, how many hours did she train each day’ and then took time to sign sticks, stick bags and for photographs.
The girls then headed for the astro where they were shown a drill that Panter used to develop her stick skills and she spent time with each pupil helping them with their technique.
The Upper Sixth Form Sports Science group then enjoyed an informal Q&A session which was highly beneficial to their A level course and also their own hockey playing careers.
Head of Girls’ Games, Ros Goatly, commented: “A very enjoyable and inspirational afternoon was had by all. It is very special to meet an Olympian but to have the opportunity to see and hold a bronze medal first hand is unique. We are very grateful to Annie for giving up her valuable time to come and visit, we wish her all the best for her future playing career and will certainly be backing her to win gold at Rio in 2016!”