It may be only be three months on from Giselle Ansley winning an historic gold medal for Team GB at Rio 2016, but the Kingsbridge hockey player has already adjusted her targets accordingly.
The defender is back in domestic action for her club side Surbiton, and is targeting a fourth successive league title, with another gold medal in Tokyo 2020 the end goal.
However, despite her lofty ambitions, she is still struggling to come to terms with what she and her 15 teammates achieved in Brazil.
“My feet have touched the ground now. But to say it has sunk in would probably be a lie,” she admitted.
“It still feels so surreal, there are people you have never seen before saying ‘congratulations, we watched the hockey’.
“That is amazing, it’s unheard of, until now I guess, since the Olympics.
“It was a phenomenal summer and I’m back playing for Surbiton now, in the domestic league, and I’ve absolutely loved being back playing with the girls.
“The success just makes you hungry for more. Someone said to me ‘you’ve won a gold medal, you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career, what could be better?’
“So I just said ‘I’d like another one’. And also I’d love another league title with Surbiton. I’ve been there for three years and won three titles with them, so a fourth one in my fourth year would be great.”
Ansley is already back in training with the centralised programme at Bisham Abbey, and is excited to see what the future holds.
Danny Kerry is staying on as head coach, but with inevitable retirements after Rio – most notably England and Great Britain captain Kate Richardson-Walsh – there has already been new blood welcomed into the group.
“It’s been really good fun to be back with the international girls,” said the former Loughborough Student player.
“Also to bring new talent into the squad, we’ve had a trial period for younger members, makes it a really, really, exciting time.
“We want to build on this, but it’s going to be interesting.
“We’ve got the same coach but a lot of new girls, so it will be interesting to see where we can go now.”
Ansley was a recipient of SportsAid funding early in her sporting career, and attended Thursday’s 40th Anniversary ball to celebrate the work of the charity, who fund more than 1,100 young athletes each year, and whose alumni won 150 medals in Rio this summer.
“What SportsAid do to help athletes on their journey to the Olympics, or Paralympics, or World Championships, is phenomenal,” she added.
“Receiving funding from SportsAid really helped me, it allowed me to train harder and access better gyms, better facilities, better medical support and physio – the type of support that is absolutely invaluable to our success as sportspeople.
“For me, personally, who knows where I might have been without it?”
SportsAid’s 40th anniversary SportsBall was sponsored by Eversheds and SSE. What will you do to support the next generation of sporting talent? Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk to find out how you can help.
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