EuroHockey Championships 2017: Success 'can transform' Wales hockey

By Tom BrownBBC Wales Sport
EuroHockey promotion can be 'game changer' for sport in Wales

Hockey Wales head of performance Dan Clements believes the men's promotion to Europe's top tier will help transform the sport in Wales.

Wales lost their EuroHockey Championship II final to Scotland, but both teams have reached the A Division.

Clements says doing so has been a "challenge" on a limited budget, but feels it will bring benefits.

"I'm over the moon for the players and staff. It's a huge achievement," Clements told BBC Wales Sport.

"It puts us on a different level and exposes us to a different level of competition that will hopefully drive performances up."

Players can be 'role models'

The Wales women's side narrowly missed promotion to the top tier, following their 2-1 defeat by Russia in Friday's EuroHockey Championship semi-final.

But Clements was pleased with their performances and with the number of fans who came to watch the Cardiff tournament.

EuroHockey: Wales women 'will come back stronger'

"I'm a big believer in the inspiration our athletes and staff provide as role models," he said.

"The buzz around the venue here in Cardiff has been huge and so is the reception the guys have had.

"Everyone's buzzing about the sport at the moment and I really feel that'll transcend into people picking up a stick for the first time."

Finding the next Welsh Olympian

The Wales men will join the likes of Germany, England and the Netherlands in the EuroHockey A Division in 2019.

But before that both the men and women's teams hope to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Clements says he hopes competing at these big tournaments will help earn more Welsh players call-ups for Great Britain.

"We really want to push the boundaries and not have a glass ceiling to where we want to get to," he said.

"The better we perform as a group, the more chance we've got of players progressing into the GB squads.

"Ultimately if we can develop some Olympians that would be utopia."

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