Games: Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012
Ben Hawes is an international field hockey player who has played for both England and Great Britain in many events. He represented Great Britain in the years 2004, 2008 and 2012 for field hockey Olympic Summer Games and in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games he was captain to the mens team which came fifth in the tournament.
Hawes has played in three European Championships and two World Cups in total. He achieved a bronze medal in the 2003 Barcelona game and he also won a gold medal in the 2009 European Hockey Championships playing for the England hockey squad. Hawes made 125 appearances in England and 90 appearances in Great Britain, making him one of the most skilled and experienced players in his current squad. In 2011 he underwent ankle surgery which a success and returned to play for Great Britain in his third Olympic Games in 2012.
Hawes retired in 2013 with 132 caps and 99 caps representing England and Great Britain respectively and he now plays for Wimbledon.
The following questions were prepared by The Rose School in Lancashire to support Ben with his Athlete of the Month appearance.
Why did you choose hockey?
I started playing at a club my parents were involved with. When I was young I played all sports and only really concentrated on hockey when I was 18, at university. Probably the decision was due to the friends and enjoyment i got from the sport as well as the fact I was starting to get recognised at a representative level.
What age were you when you started playing? Did you have lots of friends playing with you at that age?
I started playing aged 10 with friends at Mini hockey. I soon had 'hockey friends' and as I played away from school it was something different at the weekends!
We are a BESD school, we all have significant issues in our lives at home and school. Did you experience any difficulties at home or school?
I was at a fairly regular state school and struggled with some subjects, I was also very quiet when i was young. Sport was always something i was good at, a release from school and something i found rewarding and that gave me confidence. Sport has certainly given me great opportunities and also an appreciation of how to communicate and build relationships.
How many hours a week do you train? Do you have a special diet?
In the build up to London 2012 we trained every day. 4 days would be all the team together and involve pitch sessions, gym, video meetings (full days). The remainder would be de-centralised but involve 2-3 hours of gym/fitness work as well as recovery, physio etc. I also worked alongside this, in the few hours spare, so it was an intense time.
What is your greatest hockey achievement?
Probably competing in 3 Olympics and captaining GB/England. Results-wise it would be winning the European Championships in 2009 with England.
Do you also have any other jobs alongside hockey?
I worked on and off my whole hockey career, as i appreciated i would need experience to fall back on after hockey or if I was injured. It was also a good release from hockey and helped keeping me grounded and motivated for training. Ironically, I ended up working for IHG on their sponsorship of London 2012!
Do you know what you might want to do once you retire?
I am now retired from international hockey, but still playing for Wimbledon Hockey Club in the English Premier League. I took a role with IHG post London 2012 and now manage Brand Partnerships for the group in Europe. I also sit on the Athletes Commission for the British Olympic Association, which keeps me up to date and involved in what's going on with Team GB and the athletes. I am also honoured to be involved with the Get Set to Make a Change programme as a board member.