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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 12:13 UK

Bleby quits international hockey

Jon Bleby
Bleby was a key player for England and Great Britain

England and Great Britain defender Jon Bleby has announced his retirement from international hockey.

The 29-year-old Loughborough Students full-back earned 54 caps for England and 37 for Great Britain.

Bleby said: "I have had a fantastic time. It has been a great honour and unbelievably fun and challenging.

"I felt now was a perfect time for me to start striving for some other goals in my life having finished on a great high at the 2008 Beijing Olympics."

Bleby made his England debut against Poland in 2001 and withdrew from the international scene two years later because of difficulties combining his studying and career with sport.

But he returned in 2005, much to the delight of England and Great Britain coach Jason Lee, who played alongside Bleby at Loughborough.

606: DEBATE

Bleby helped England to a fifth-place finish at the 2006 World Cup and was part of the Great Britain side that finished fifth at the 2008 Olympics - their best result since 1988.

Domestically, he won the indoor league title with Loughborough Students in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Lee said: "His involvement coincided with the team's turn around in form, particularly at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the World Cup Qualifier, and culminating that year in the fifth place at the World Cup.

"His energy on and off the pitch will be missed. He consistently covered more ground on the pitch than anyone in the England and GB team and probably in world hockey, but was never injured.

"He maintained the same energy off the pitch and the way he helped gel the team was invaluable."



see also
Bleby quits international stage
02 Nov 04 |  Other sport...
England's Bleby back after break
20 Dec 05 |  Hockey


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