Interview with GB Hockey player Shona McCallin


Shona McCallin is a GB Hockey player. She was in the squad that won Great Britain’s first ever gold medal in women’s hockey at Rio in 2016.

Shona has been looking after her training regime during the current lockdown.

“Generally, it’s been pretty good.” she said. “I’ve really actually enjoyed taking ownership of my training really and doing what I want when I want. I’m doing my online personal training, which has been good for me to delve into the reason behind exercising and different types of training. It’s been good to have mates to be Guinee pigs with me to test out new training bits from GB Hockey. We got some equipment sent home and from one of my sponsors they sent me through some equipment and with the amazing weather we have had it’s been good to train outside.”

When news of the cancellation of this years Olympics came through, Shona felt a little unusual.

“It was a mixed bag really.” she said.”Leading up to that it was a stressful time really. All athletes were trying to keep in peak condition and through really difficult circumstances as we were only allowed out once a day and had very limited equipment, which put quiet a lot of pressure on us. Once it was confirmed it was not surprising and it was one hundred per cent the right decision, it couldn’t have gone ahead this summer not at all. There was a bit of relief and then after the relief came the disappointment of the wait for another year and then once I got over that, we’ve got another year to improve.”

Shona was part of the GB squad that won gold in Rio 2016.

“It was kind of on my radar going into the games, but not massively.” she said. “We very much took it game by game. It was only when we got to the final, I realised my goodness me we are actually going to get a medal and the game itself was a bit of a whirlwind. There is no better script for a final. I think it really only hit the squad a month after the final as to what an achievement it was and the effect it had on women’s sport.”

Back in 2018 Shona suffered a head injury in a game against Argentina. At the time she thought it was only going to be a minor knock.

“One of the biggest lows is injuries and that happened to me in 2018.” she said.” I got an innocuous bang to the head; it didn’t look to serious and I ended up with a lengthy concussion. It affected my life in a big way as I wasn’t able to socialise, I was often on my own, I wasn’t able to be in rooms which were loud and bright and was unable to play hockey for ages. I missed out on the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and another tournament. It was challenging times and period for me, but I’m back.”

There was some dark moments in her long lay off and at times found this extremely difficult.

“It was challenging times for me as a person, so the thoughts that were constantly going through my head, especially in the first six months or so were like am I ever going to be a normal person again, but putting hockey aside I was having headaches every single day, it was relentless, so hockey was very much put aside, as I just wanted to be healthy and live a normal life.” she said.

Aside from playing hockey, Shona thoroughly enjoys cooking and helping out with charity work.

“In lockdown it’s been good to do a few more recipes, and in terms of charity work I think it’s very important as an athlete to have other things in your life going on rather than just being focused on the sport.” she said. “I’ve been involved with Marie Currie since 2017. It can be really moving and it’s great that all the work that they do, and it’s just nice to be involved.”

And as regards to her speciality dish, well she says I have two.

“It varies due to the time of year. In winter I do a nice beef and red wine stew. At the moment in the summer I’m into barbecuing and creating my own marinade for meats and skewers.”


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