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‘We’re not going to limit ourselves’
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Megan Frazer says her Ireland hockey team-mates have to believe that anything is possible at the rearranged Olympic Games.

Ireland’s women qualified for the Tokyo Games for the first time, one year on from their historic silver medal at the World Cup in England.

However the Covid-19 pandemic means their Olympic dreams are on hold until 2021.

“We’re not trying to limit ourselves,” said Frazer.

She added: “I think before we might have gone into a big competition with the aim of not coming last.

“Now we know what is possible and one thing we will really look to do is get to the crossover stage.

“From there, as we saw in the World Cup, it’s anyone’s game. It’s about who can hold their nerve on the day.”

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‘Postponement opens up selection’

The majority of Ireland’s overseas players had decided to return home to focus on Olympic training and take out the element of travel from their preparations.

Frazer, who was playing for German Bundesliga outfit Mannheimer, intends to remain in Ireland ahead of the rescheduled Games next year.

“We all wanted to be together as much as possible so a lot of the European club stuff has been put on hold,” added the 29-year-old.

“The fear is what you hear on the news, that the Games might not go ahead if there isn’t a vaccine,

“But that’s out of our hands. What we are trying to do is get a level of normality back to training.

“We’ve been sent a training programme and now we are trying to get back up and running.”


Former coach Graham Shaw comforts the injured Frazer before the World Cup final

Frazer has had an injury-plagued two seasons, including a hamstring injury which ruled her out of the World Cup final, and was working her way back to full fitness before Covid-19 halted the season.

“I had just been properly returning to play and I was feeling really good about it,” she said.

“I’d been having no problems for the first time in a long time.

“There’s not been too much of a let-up in my training and I’ve been trying to get myself up to speed with the rest of the team.

“Hopefully when the restrictions are lifted we can come back together and there won’t be such a big deficit after a two-year hiatus from playing international hockey.”

Missing out will be ‘really hard for people’

After heartbreak four years earlier, Ireland qualified for the Tokyo Games after a dramatic shootout victory over Canada in November.

However the nature of the Olympics means that some of those involved in qualification will miss out due to the smaller squad limit of 16 players at the Games.

Frazer feels that the postponement of the Games “opens things up” in terms of selection.

“It gives Sean Dancer, our coach, more time to look at people and see where they would fit in the team,” said said.

“People have an extra year to prepare and those who have just been brought into the squad will have been in a year-and-a-half come next summer.

“As the team gets stronger the players are going to get stronger, so there’s going to be lots of competition for spaces.

“Missing out is going to be really hard for people.”

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