British women's hockey boss in tears as he recalls telling players they won't make squad
20:00 GMT, 18 May 2012
The head coach of Great Britain's women's hockey team broke down in tears as he announced his 16-strong Olympic squad, calling the decision to omit 12 other players 'really tough'.
At a press conference announcing his final selection, Danny Kerry was initially too choked to answer a question about the difficulty of telling those left out that their London 2012 dreams were over and had to defer to captain Kate Walsh.
'It's the hardest thing you have to do as a coach,' Walsh said. 'To tell people that you've been working with for years that they're not going to make that squad.'
Feeling the strain: Great Britain coach Danny Kerry broke down in tears
When he regained his composure Kerry said: 'It's been a really difficult week since the girls found out. They've had their opportunity to say exactly how they feel. Those meetings have been really tough on me personally, but they served a purpose.'
A team of 28 has trained centrally at Bisham Abbey for the last three years but only 16 players, plus two reserves in case of injuries, can be named for the Olympics.
All were informed of their inclusion or exclusion via email, a medium selected by them, on May 8 and the toll on Kerry of breaking the bad news to the unfortunate dozen was visible at the announcement. It was a show of emotion absent, understandably, from Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 England squad selection.
The women's team won the test event at the Olympic Park earlier this month and go to the Games with gold in their sights. Kerry added: 'We'll win as a squad of 28, we won't win as a squad of 16, 18.'
Two star members of his squad who picked up injuries at the test event were picked. Forward Alex Danson, who suffered a partial dislocation of her left shoulder, and set-piece specialist Christa Cullen, who damaged the ligaments on her right ankle, have places.
Both were given recovery periods of between four to six weeks, which should see them back in full action by the middle of June. The Investec London Cup, the last competition before the Games, starts on June 5, so it could come too soon.
Good sign: Britain's women won the test event for the hockey this month
Cullen, who attended the announcement at the London Stock Exchange wearing a protective boot and using crutches, said she would play through the pain barrier to get back onto the hockey pitch.
'At the time of any injury you obviously have that heart-dropping moment, thinking, “My lord, I've worked four years in this cycle, are my aspirations gone”
'It's frustrating but I'm already on a bike, cycling, to keep me off my feet to get some stiffness back in that ankle. I've had my elements of tough training sessions on my own, but my focus is very much to be fit for the Olympic Games. Whatever I need to do to be fit for London I will.
'I will always make myself available for selection. I went to Beijing with a fractured wrist and I carried an injury through. The decision is taken out of my hands and put in the head coaches hands as to whether he still wants me part of the team if I'm carrying a niggle.
'It's a management issue. If the worst comes to the worst and I have to have it heavily strapped or get consent to have cortisone injections – the pinnacle of sport is the Olympic Games.'
Danson, who has been compared to Wayne Rooney in terms of goal-scoring stature by coach Kerry, said: 'It's coming on really well, we have the greatest physio on the planet.
'I'm rehabbing every day and hopefully I'll be back before too long. I hate not playing. I won't play in the London Cup unless I am 100 per cent fit.'