Hunter has Rio 2016 in her sights after England hockey debut and bronze glory

Jo Hunter, right, in action in South Africa
Jo Hunter, right, in action in South Africa

A former Aylesbury High School pupil is one step closer to realising her Olympic hockey dream after turning out for England in South Africa.

Jo Hunter,21, touched back down in snowy England on Monday after picking up her first five international caps and a bronze medal at the invitational tournament.

Hunter said: “I’m really happy. It couldn’t have gone better. I’ve never been to South Africa before, it was brilliant.”

The Investec Challenge was contested between England, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands in Cape Town.

Despite losing their three pool games and semi-final England still contested a third place play-off against Australia and triumphed 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

But Hunter said the tournament was key for gaining more international experience with an inexperienced squad.

She added: “Eight of us in the squad were making our England debuts.

“I guess the slight dampener was in each game we felt we were capable of winning.”

Against eventual winners Netherlands England were tied 0-0 at half-time before going down 3-0.

Hunter said: “We thought ‘we can do this, we can do this’. But just the experience and not quite finishing our goals let us down.

After the success of the Team GB ladies in getting a bronze medal in London the Leicester player said her focus is firmly on Rio in 2016 with a new cycle of players now being introduced.

She has already been included for a few GB training days but is waiting on news as to whether she makes the training squad.

She added: “My goal is to play in the Olympics for Britain. There’s no doubt we could go on further and make that bronze medal a gold or silver.”