It’s official

ON TRACK: Glenn Turner is a key part of the Kookaburras squad. Photo: Paul Kane. Glenn’s off to London
Nanjing Night Net

IT was the moment he’s been dreaming of for three years. On Monday morning the name ‘Glenn Turner’ was one of 16 on a list formulated by Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth.

The 28-year-old is bound for the Olympic Games and will join the 15 best male hockey players in Australia in the pursuit of gold. Although expected to earn selection in the squad, the homegrown hockey player and Goulburn Mulwaree Council employee breathed a sigh of relief when his place was confirmed at 11.30am on Monday.

“There’s always doubt, there’s strength in the squad and you just never know if you’ll be picked,” Turner said moments after his selection.

“I can’t wait to get there now.”

The Kookaburras will fine-tune their Olympic preparations with a three Test series against New Zealand in Cairns. Afterwards they’ll head into camp and on July 18, depart Australian shores.

The Kookaburras are resounding favourites to return with gold. The weight of expectation isn’t a new phenomenon for Turner and the men in green and gold.

“Every tournament we go into, we’re expected to win. And every tournament since the last Games, we have won. Being favourites is nothing new to us. We’ve just got to focus on what we need to do and not worry about anything else,” he said. Should they get to the knockout stages, it’s likely their nemesis, Germany, will await.

So, too, will European powerhouse, the Netherlands. Turner said experienced Olympians like Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles – men who endured the disappointment of a 2008 semifinal defeat to Spain – would keep a lid on preparations.

“They’re really hungry to get gold, particularly after what happened in Beijing,” he said.

“They’re going to be really important for us. They’ve been there before and they know what it takes.” Charlesworth said the squad was carefully selected and was years in the making.

“It is our job to make judgments about balance and covering every base but in the end there are players that are unlucky,” he said.

“This has been a long process over 12 months and many factors were considered.”

The Kookaburras commence their Olympic campaign on July 30. The Games’ opening Ceremony, to be directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle and feature music from British artists Paul McCartney and Underworld, will take place on July 27.

Among the 10,500 athletes from 204 countries strolling around the Olympic Stadium in Stratford – once an industrial waste site of London – will be one Glenn Turner.

Follow @LloydScroope

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