Mclaren back for New Zealand's hockey medal tilt
New Zealand’s Anita McLaren is back where she belongs - on the hockey field.
The striker will take the pitch at Gold Coast Hockey Centre for her third successive Commonwealth Games after taking 18 months out of the game to regroup following a fourth place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I needed some time away after Rio," McLaren said. "It was extremely disappointing and took a lot out of me."
After spending time pursuing other interests - including a brief stint training in athletics - McLaren felt the time was right to pick up her hockey stick.
"I have played in the national team since 2009 and missed only two tours,” she said.
“I felt a break would be the best thing for my mind and body, but I missed competing on the world stage.
"Walking out to compete for your country is a great feeling."
McLaren played down rumours she was considering a switch to athletics for GC2018.
"There was some truth in the fact I was training for athletics but the main purpose was to keep fit and get my body right,” she said.
“I also didn’t want to be a couch potato, so the athletics training with my partner Scott (New Zealand decathlete) was great.
"It was the hardest training I have ever experienced and I definitely have a new respect for the training they do."
McLaren, who collected her 250th Black Sticks cap during a five-test series with Argentina in Buenos Aires in February, admitted feeling apprehensive about returning.
"It felt like I got really old during my time away,” she said.
“I'm 30 now and my body has definitely had to adjust to the different type of training again.
"I'm extremely honoured and grateful to be selected. I want to see the New Zealand team continue to grow and achieve more on the world stage. That's why I'm back."
There are still tickets available to watch the hockey action. Snap up yours today.
This article was produced by Games News Service.