SAM Quek was in dreamland as Great Britain claimed women’s hockey’s first ever Olympic gold medal.
Victory over the defending champions Holland – who hadn’t lost an Olympics since 2004 – had looked improbable just two years ago.
But they’ve taken themselves from 11th in the world at the 2014 World Cup to the top of the world in Rio.
Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch will take the headlines for her heroics in a tense 2-0 penalty shoot-out win that will live long in the memory of all who watched, both in Brazil and beyond.
But Quek, the 27-year-old Liverpudlian – who is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University – played a key role too as Great Britain went through the entire tournament unbeaten.
“We’ve got such self-belief in the squad, it’s an unreal feeling and really hard to describe but as a team we just don’t think that we’ll lose,” said Quek, after the game which Great Britain initially drew 3-3 in normal time after goals from Lily Owsley, Crista Cullen and Nicola White.
“Even when we went down, I looked around and I saw that belief in people’s faces, we just knew we were going to win this.
“We came into this tournament knowing that we had ticked every single box in preparation. We are such a tight-group and we couldn’t have prepared better.
“Maddie is the best goalkeeper in the world. I made an overly-excited tackle at the beginning and gave away a penalty and she bailed me out then. It’s a team performance and everybody’s doing her job.
“I’m not taking this medal off, I’m going sleep with it forever.”
Two bronze medals – at the 1992 and 2012 Games – were the women’s team’s best return from an Olympic, while it’s 28 years and counting since Sean Kerly and co won the men’s title in Seoul. Head coach Danny Kerry has played a pivotal role in instilling a sense of belief and outthinking his opposite numbers.
“Danny is a master tactician, he couldn’t have prepared us better – his dedication to this has been amazing,” added Quek.
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