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Page last updated at 09:46 GMT, Tuesday, 24 August 2010 10:46 UK

Helen Richardson welcomes boost for English hockey

By Sam Edwards
BBC Radio Nottingham Blast reporter

Helen Richardson
Richardson was a key player in England's Champions Trophy success

England star Helen Richardson says last month's Champions Trophy has raised the profile of hockey in England and paved the way for more international events.

The prestigious tournament - featuring the world's top six teams - was held at Beeston hockey club and the England team excelled, securing a bronze medal.

"It's great there was so much support, which is so good looking towards London 2012," she told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"In the next two years, I imagine there will be a number of tournaments here."

The nine-day extravaganza, which also featured a four-team men's tournament, saw the Champions Trophy staged in this country for the first time.

People want to follow success. If young children are coming to watch a team doing well then it's more likely they are going to take up the sport and support the sport

Helen Richardson

And Richardson believes that England's success, along with the buzz of excitement created by London 2012, has been great for the sport.

"People want to follow success," the Reading defender added. "If young children are coming to watch a team doing well then it's more likely they are going to take up the sport and support the sport.

"And with the Olympics approaching, there will be more countries wanting to come over to England to experience the climate."

England were backed throughout by a vociferous home crowd - complete with vuvuzelas - and Richardson, who trained at Beeston hockey club as a youngster, said the support was priceless in helping them perform so well.

"It was massive," she said. "When you're on the attack you can really feel the crowd. It's hard to describe. It physically lifts you and keeps you going."

The next step for the England team is the World Cup. That gets under way in Argentina on Sunday, 29 August and Richardson says the semi-finals are the minimum requirement.

Richardson shines in win over Germany

"Our first aim is to finish in the top two of the pool which will get us into the semi-finals and if we do that, we will exceed our world ranking of sixth. From then anything can happen," she said.

"We are just working really hard for each other because you know everyone has put in the same amount of effort.

"I think that was massive at the Champions Trophy. You could see how hard everyone was working for each other and that was the key to our success in Nottingham.

"We are keeping our feet firmly on the ground but it's a very exciting time."



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