Belper's Hollie Pearne-Webb and Chesterfield's Millie Bright go for gold at Tokyo Olympics
Two of Derbyshire’s top players in football and hockey will be aiming to lead their teams to gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, which begin on Friday.
Chesterfield’s Millie Bright will be part of Team GB’s women’s football squad while Belper’s Hollie Pearne-Webb will be looking to captain the women’s hockey team to a repeat of their success of the 2016 Games in Rio where Pearne-Webb netted the winning penalty in the final to secure the gold medal.
The hockey gets under way on Saturday, Pearne-Webb’s first game being on Sunday against Germany in Pool A, while in the football, Great Britain played their opening game against Chile on Wednesday (21st). They’ll then face Japan on Saturday and Canada next Tuesday.
For Pearne-Webb, previous experience of being at the Games and tasting glory will play a part but with the make up of the squad being very different to five years ago, she’s keen to highlight they won’t be living off past glories.
Pearne-Webb said: “I think those of us who have already been to an Olympic Games have a huge responsibility to help the youngsters and the new girls in the squad, in terms of with how it might feel to be there and how it might be different, but also with how to enjoy it and embrace it.
"We have a legacy we want to follow but we go there as a new team and trying to win a gold medal for the first time as a group so we’re all just really excited now.
"There will be pressure on us given we’re the reigning champions but internally we see ourselves as a completely new squad – we had a number of significant people retire after Rio who were real leaders, characters and incredible hockey players, and we’ve a lot of new and exciting young talent come in.
"So we don’t feel the pressure, we just want to go there and win.”
"I feel this group is capable of being on top of the podium. Before Rio, a lot of people who know hockey would have written that team off as well and I don’t think we go to Tokyo as favourites, but we know if we turn up on our day we can beat anyone, which is a really exciting place to be.
"But we will need to be on it every single day because every opponent at the Olympic Games is a really tough one and there are certainly no easy games.”
Bright, 27, who was born in Chesterfield and attended school in Killamarsh, has bene playing for Chelsea in the Women’s Super League since 2015, winning three titles and two FA Cups, and was part of the England side that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2019.
This will be her first Olympic Games and upon being selected for Team GB, she said: “It's still a bit of a pinch me moment and I think it will be like that until we get out there.
“It’s a huge moment and it’s not something that’s taken lightly so I’m feeling really proud and grateful.
"We have certainly got the ability to go on and win gold.”
For news on other North and Mid-Derbyshire competitors out in Tokyo, see page 105.
You can stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.