7 Jul 2016

Plenty of experience in Olympic bound Black Sticks squad

3:23 pm on 7 July 2016

The double centurion and three time Olympian Kayla Whitelock will lead a New Zealand women's hockey team brimming with experience to the Rio Olympics.

Whitelock who's played 247 tests for the Black Sticks is one of five players with more than 200 test caps named in the squad.

Gemma Flynn will compete in her third Olympics having first played at the Beijing Games as an 18-year-old while Anita McLaren, Sam Charlton, Stacey Michelsen and Charlotte Harrison all head to their second Olympics.

Black Sticks captain Kayla Whitelock will be competing at her fourth Olympic Games.

Black Sticks captain Kayla Whitelock competing at her fourth Olympic Games. Photo: Photosport

Only three of the 16 players selected have played less than 100 games.

New Zealand's most capped women's player of all-time Emily Gaddum, with 274 tests, was unavailable for due to being pregnant.

"We're taking away a very strong team, it's well balanced and contains some great experience with six players who have been to an Olympic Games before, along with plenty of Commonwealth Games and World Cup experience," said coach Mark Hager.

"This team is capable of medalling and we have proven over recent times that we can win in those high pressure situations which we will certainly face in Rio."

The New Zealand women begin their Olympic programme against against Korea on Monday August 8th at 1:00am (NZ time), while the men's team play Australia in their opening game Sunday 7th August.

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