THE Tamworth hockey fraternity came together yesterday to farewell its newest Olympian.
Kate Jenner this week became Tamworth’s 13th Olympian and fourth hockey Olympian when she was announced in the Hockeyroos side chasing gold in London.
Yesterday, proud parents Barry and Sue and sister Emily, and proud former coaches and team-mates gathered at the Hockey Clubhouse to congratulate Jenner and wish her on her way.
And she was literally on her way, having to catch a flight back to Perth where the Hockeyroos are based and will continue their Olympic build-up, straight after.
It has been an emotional couple of days for Jenner and her family. She’d had to keep mum on the news for a couple of days.
“I found out on Sunday but it wasn’t released until Tuesday so I couldn’t tell anyone,” Jenner said.
The news that her Olympic dream was a reality came via email and ended a bit of a nervous wait.
“I think because I was so jet-lagged when I came back (from London) I forgot about it for a while,” she said.
“It wasn’t until Sunday morning I thought about it.”
She has been effectively auditioning for the past 18 months or so under the watchful eyes of coach Adam Commens.
“Commo (Adam Commens) said all the time at training it’s an opportunity and games are an opportunity,” Jenner said.
It was tight, with only a few backline positions available, but after some strong performances – most recently in the London Cup – Jenner got the nod and now, two years after being thrust into the Commonwealth Games team, she finds herself heading to the pinnacle of her sport – the Olympics.
“The Commonwealth Games is probably our lowest ranked competition. This is the peak for us,” she said.
She’ll have plenty of support over there, with her family heading over to watch her.
They missed the Commonwealth Games but are off to London.
“We’re very proud and very excited, and relieved to to finally find out,” dad Barry said.
He said it had been a nerve-racking time.
“It’s been a nervous wait. We haven’t really slept the last week,” he said.
He recalled taking Kate along to play minkey in the middle of winter down at the Riverside fields.
“She just loved it from the time she started playing,” he said.
Among those who spoke at yesterday’s function were rising young star Abigail Doolan, former Services team-mate Cath Sumpter, former coach Graeme McKenzie and Tamworth Hockey Association president Chris Sheppeard, who presented Jenner with a Tamworth Hockey jacket.
He said it was “awesome” to have another local product going to the Olympics, with Jenner joining Michael York, Matthew Smith and Kim Small on that illustrious list.
York was the last hockey Olympian – playing in Sydney in 2000.