Olympic gold medallist Georgie Twigg today said women’s hockey was “bigger than ever” — and she hoped this summer’s World Cup in London would inspire even more young people to take up the sport.
The 27-year-old hockey star launched the 100-day countdown to the tournament with the help of school children at the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Organisers say more than 80,000 tickets have already been sold for the World Cup at The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, beating total ticket sales for the Women’s Cricket World Cup held in England last year.
High demand means an 80,000 sq ft spectator area will be created at the Lee Valley centre for additional visitors.
Twigg said Team GB’s gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and National Lottery funding had helped make women’s hockey “bigger than ever”.
She added: “I’ve heard from my own club that the junior section is booming. It’s brilliant to see more and more people wanting to play our sport. It’s been a dramatic change that we wouldn’t have been able to do without funding and sponsorship. If you want to achieve gold medals you need that support.”
Twigg, who still plays for Surbiton but is semi-retired and focused on training as a City lawyer, hopes that the World Cup will encourage a new generation to “pick-up sticks”.
“The tickets have almost sold out which is phenomenal,” she said. “Lee Valley is going to be the central hub of hockey.”
The England hockey team lost to New Zealand on penalties in their semi-final game at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last week but bounced back to beat India 6-0 on Saturday, taking the bronze medal. England’s men also won bronze.
Twigg described the World Cup, which will be staged between July 21 and August 5, as the “pinnacle” of the sport and said the England team have a good chance of winning: “They will definitely be hungry to win. They have got a real good mix of experience and youth.”
This summer the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup brings the world’s best hockey players to London. A great day out with world class sport — tickets from £1 at seetickets.com/hockeyworldcup