Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Hockey: Fracture puts Rio dream in doubt

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Sam Charlton is hopeful she will be selected for the Rio Olympics despite her fractured hand.
Sam Charlton is hopeful she will be selected for the Rio Olympics despite her fractured hand.

There is never a good time to fracture your hand but for Black Sticks defender Sam Charlton the timing could not be much worse.

The 24-year-old from Tauranga with 171 caps suffered a hairline fracture at the recent International Hockey Open in Darwin.

There the Black Sticks beat hosts Australia 2-0 in the best performance by the team this year but a freak injury means Charlton has to sit out the FIH Champions Trophy currently under way in London.

"I took a ball to the hand against Australia. Interestingly it was on my left hand where I wear a really big glove but it still cracked a little bone at the bottom of my little finger unfortunately," Charlton said.

"All going well I should be back into full playing mode in four to five weeks.

"That result over Australia and coupled with the win we had over them in the semifinals at the Hawke's Bay Cup shows a real mental edge we have over them now.

"In the last two crunch games against them we have beaten them and often it has been Australia that has come out on top in those games that actually mean something.

"So yeah, it is a real boost in confidence for our girls to show we can beat teams like Australia who are No3 in the world."

With the Black Sticks team to go to the Rio Olympics to be selected after the Champions Trophy, all Charlton can do is hope her good form leading up to her injury will be enough for her to make it.

"The good thing about our team is we have got 25 girls and any single one of them could get selected.

"Unfortunately I didn't have another opportunity to stake my claim and I kind of just have to hope that what I have done throughout the year is enough.

"But if people perform really well at the Champions Trophy then I can't really do much about that. I am just sitting here waiting and hoping I have done enough to get me in but if it is not, then that is the way it has to be."

Charlton was part of the Black Sticks team in London 2012 in the first major tournament of her career.

"It was probably the most thrilling and also the most disappointing tournament.

"To make the semifinals we were absolutely ecstatic in mood and to get so close to making that final. But then walking away without a medal that was really disappointing and I suppose that fuels a lot of fire for the next time round.

"A lot of us know just how disappointing it is to walk away having made the semifinals and not get a medal. It was a big learning for us and we know how that feels.

"We want to make sure that doesn't happen again going into Rio this year."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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