Thursday, July 25, 2024

Izzy Petter reveals brutal fitness battle required to make Olympic cut for Paris 2024

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By Tom Harle

Izzy Petter revealed she has undergone a brutal fitness regime to convert to a midfield role for her second Olympics.

Petter won Olympic bronze at Tokyo 2020 as a striker and is now one of ten returning players who feature in the 16-strong squad for Paris 2024.

Just three months ago, the 23-year-old was asked by women’s head coach David Ralph to move back into midfield.

“It still feels quite new but it’s exciting to get on the ball more,” said Petter. “I’ve got a bit more time to get used to it in four Pro League games.

“Physically, I wasn’t fit enough to play there and I’ve really worked hard on that – a lot of strength and conditioning! I’m getting used to being a lot more tired a lot more often.

“I really enjoy carrying the ball, in big spaces I think that’s one of my super strengths.

“It was quite a surprise when Ralphie sat me down and told me but I thought, ‘we’ll go for it.’ Even up until last week, I wasn’t sure where I’d be playing.

“I’ve played there for my club, albeit it’s a very different level, but I have experience there and I know what the forwards need from me.”

Petter is playing her part in implementing a new attacking philosophy espoused by Ralph and led by assistant coach Katie Glynn.

“Ralphie wants us to play an exciting game and to score goals,” said Petter. “We’ve been working a lot on getting from outside the circle into the circle and getting more outcomes.

“We create a lot but we’re not as clinical as we could be, so we’re working on execution under pressure. We create a lot of chances, it’s just actually putting the ball in the goal.”

Team GB begin their campaign against Spain on 28 July, with Olympic and world silver medallists Argentina looming large in Group B.

The pool also features three-time winners Australia, USA and South Africa, with the top four sealing progression to the quarter-finals.

All games will be played at the refurbished Stade Yves-du-Manoir – the only venue that will have featured at both the 2024 and 1924 Games, having hosted the athletics a century ago.

Petter said: “I think we’re a team who people need to look out for. We often turn up at the Olympics. In Tokyo, we found ourselves in the semi-finals and probably didn’t think we would get there.

“Anything can happen in those high-pressure moments. The Dutch and the Argentinians are there to chase but we’re getting better at competing with those top teams.”

Petter’s family were unable to join her in Tokyo due to Covid-19 restrictions but they will be out in force in the French capital.

Aldi’s Nearest & Dearest programme helps maximise support and minimise potential distractions for athletes so that they can focus on their performance and make the most of the unique opportunity to compete on one of the world’s largest stages.

“My parents booked accommodation three years ago,” said Petter. “I told them I might not get picked and could get injured but they booked it anyway! I think they had a refund policy.

“We’re not particularly used to big crowds in hockey so when it does happen, it’s so much fun. It’s going to be really, really special.”

Aldi are proud Official Partners of Team GB & ParalympicsGB, supporting all athletes through to Paris 2024

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