Jubilation:SA’s hockey men off to Olympics

2012-05-07 00:00

THE celebrations will have carried on into the early hours of this morning for the South African men’s hockey side, who booked their ticket to this year’s London Olympics with a 2-1 victory over Japan yesterday.

It hasn’t been the easiest of journeys for the team, but Maritzburg College old boy Wade Paton, who played in yesterday’s match, isn’t complaining.

“I actually can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” Paton told The Witness over the phone from Japan last night. “We are all just so overwhelmed by the whole occasion and by all of the support we have received.”

Yesterday’s victory ignited interest from all parts of the country, with #SAhockey topping the list of South African trends on social networking site Twitter.

Paton said the support from Pietermaritzburg, and in particular, Maritzburg College, had made the experience more meaningful.

“The guys back home, and especially from College, have been fantastic.

“The school has really been following our journey and I’m just glad that we were able to give them something back.”

With the squad’s focus now completely on London, Paton said that winning a medal was not impossible.

“It will be tough, but we have been preparing for this for so long and winning a medal has always been the aim.”

Paton was joined by two other Maritzburg College old boys in the squad in Japan — his brother Taine and Marvin Harper.

“I am elated and chuffed for the players. Winning this final is a very satisfying achievement,” said a visibly moved head coach Gregg Clark.

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