GOLDEN girl Maddie Hinch has told Team GB's hockey players to forget about the past and ‘write their own history’ at Tokyo 2020.

The goalkeeper captured British hearts at Rio 2016 as her penalty shoot-out heroics propelled the nation to glory, miraculously saving all four Dutch penalties after a 3-3 draw in the final

Now the 32-year-old, who studied at King's College, Taunton, between 2002 and 2007, will be looking to help Team GB start their title defence with a win against Germany tomorrow (Sunday).

This summer’s squad is almost unrecognisable from those Rio heroes, as just six players remain from 2016, and Hinch issued a rallying cry to Danny Kerry’s youthful team.

Hinch said: “I look back on 2016 and it really gives me a smile on my face.

“It was positive and we wrote a real history with that group - but it’s a different group now.

"It’s important that we try and write our own history with this group and write our own story again.

“We can’t go and try and replicate what that team in Rio did - we need to go out with our own team and really give an account of ourselves.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing what this younger group can do - we’re going out with a bit of a target on our backs, but we’re proud to do so and we’re going to defend our title.”

Hollie Pearne-Webb, 30, takes the captaincy, while Laura Unsworth, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley and Giselle Ansley are among those heroes who captured gold medal glory to feature once again.

Precocious duo Izzy Petter, 20, and Fiona Crackles, 21, are the youngest members of the squad, but Hinch insists Team GB’s rock-solid character means they're equipped with the tools for dealing with the challenges the Games will bring.

“We’re a very close-knit bunch,” added Hinch, who is able to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme.

“This year has brought us together and our culture is very strong.

"Our support for one another is some of the strongest I’ve ever known - we really want the best for each other, and we have each other to lean on.

“That’s a really nice place to be in - and we’ve got to turn that into a strength of ours so, when we do have a tough moment, we come together and get bounce back quickly.”

Hinch’s unforgettable Rio gold was one of 864 medals won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games since the advent of National Lottery funding in 1997.

She knows adding to that haul in Tokyo would solidify her legacy among the greats, but is remaining firmly grounded ahead of their five Group A clashes, starting with the Germans tomorrow.

Asked what Team GB defending their title would mean, Hinch said: “It would be nuts.

“I know what’s coming if that’s the case this time - I'd definitely be more prepared for it.

"I think about it, and then I try and forget about it as quickly as possible.

“There is so much to do between then and now and then - that first game is just massive in terms of belief and momentum.

"That’s all I’m thinking about right now.”

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