Noakes nails Beijing spot
Black Sticks mid-fielder Kim Noakes is set to rub shoulders with the best.
The 25-year-old, who represents the St Lukes-based SLAM club, couldn’t be happier about her selection in the Olympic hockey side leaving for Beijing.
“The most exciting part is you get to the village and you’re surrounded by the best athletes in the world,” she says.
“I’m going to be getting my camera out and see if I can snap any famous people.”
But that’s not to say the Orakei resident doesn’t have her mind on the job.
“The best memory would be a medal,” she says.
Although she’s pleased with her own form for the Black Sticks this year, Noakes says she never took her place in the squad to Beijing for granted.
“I don’t think you can ever be confident with Olympic selection. You put your life on hold for a whole year.”
Making the side is just the start for Noakes, who will face top-ranked teams Germany and Argentina for the first time at the tournament. She will be helped by team veterans Niniwa Roberts, Caryn Paewai and Lizzy Igasan, who have all played more than 100 tests.
Noakes will also be able to call on advice from boyfriend and New Zealand men’s captain Ryan Archibald, who has played 207 matches for his country.
“It’ll be a fun experience. Not many people get to experience that together,” she says.
Black Sticks coach Kevin Towns says Noakes’ all-round skills are what secured her place in the team.
“She’s got wonderful athleticism, which means she can stay in the game for a long time and find players with pretty deft passes.”
Her defensive skills are another plus for Towns, who was only able to choose 16 players for the tournament.
And Towns believes recent form could see them standing on the medal dais.
“Take me back 12 months and I’d be happy to get into the top eight. But we’ve showed we’ve made some progress, so we’re targeting top four.
“With things going your way, anything can happen.”
Ready for action: Black Stick Kim Noakes is excited about representing New Zealand at the Olympics.