Australian hockey great Kavanagh retires

Perth, Nov 8 (IANS) Australian Fergus Kavanagh on Tuesday announced his retirement from international hockey after a 231-game career that saw him become one of the generation’s finest defenders.

The 31-year-old was part of the Australian side that won two Olympic Games bronze medals in 2008 and 2012, two World Cup titles in 2010 and 2014, two Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2010 and 2014, a World League title in 2015 and five Champions Trophy victories.

Kavanagh also played a huge part in the Hockey India League (HIL) playing for two Ranchi-based franchises — Ranchi Rhinos and Ranchi Rays. The Australian won two titles with each of them in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

“Kavanagh signs off an exceptional career in hockey on a high after winning Hockey Australia’s Player of the Year at the annual awards ceremony which was held in Perth last (Monday) night,” Hockey Australia said in a statement.

Kavanagh made his debut for the Kookaburras, as the national men’s team is fondly called, in 2007 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against India on May 5, and his last outing was the quarter-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games against the Netherlands.

Of the experience, Kavanagh said in a release: “I have been part of a great team for a long time, with lots of proud moments. Personally, for me, one of my proudest moments was on the Olympic podium in Beijing with my family and friends watching in the stadium. In terms of the team, the proudest moment I had with the Kookaburras was winning the 2014 World Cup.”

“For 10 years the Kookaburras have been a huge part of my life and the most important thing for me, but now I have reached a point in my life where I want to do other things and I know that it is the right time for me to step away from the Kookaburras.”

He also thanked coaches Paul Gaudoin, Graham Reid, Ric Charlesworth and Barry Dancer.

Commenting on Fergus Kavanagh’s retirement, Kookaburras interim head coach Gaudoin said: “Fergus will certainly go down as a legend within Australian hockey. He has been a part of arguably the most successful period in Australian men’s hockey history, and is regarded around the world as the best tackler of the past decade thanks to his speed, agility and craft.

“Fergus has a presence which will be missed within the squad, and we wish him all the best for everything he does in the future.”

However, Kavanagh will continue to play for Amsterdam in the Dutch league where he plans to settle down with his girlfriend.

–IANS

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