Olympic hockey star Kate is sports awards guest

GB hockey player Kate Richardson-Walsh will be guest of honour at March's Isle of Man Sports Awards (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

GB hockey player Kate Richardson-Walsh will be guest of honour at March's Isle of Man Sports Awards (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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The most capped female hockey player in Great Britain history will be the guest of honour at the 2016 Isle of Man Sports Awards next spring.

Kate Richardson-Walsh MBE captained the GB women’s hockey team for 13 years and led it to a gold medal in the Rio Olympics this summer. She was picked to carry the GB flag at the games’ closing ceremony.

Kate is shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016, which was announced this week.

Kate made more than 370 appearances for the GB team, which also won a bronze in London 2012.

Alongside her GB duties, Kate captained England for 13 years, winning the European Championships in 2015 and bringing home a bronze and two silvers in three successive Commonwealth Games.

Kate has been GB Hockey’s Athlete of the Year and has twice won the prestigious Hockey Writers’ Player of the Year.

She is shortlisted for the International Hockey Federation’s player of the year award for 2016.

She is an ambassador for the Women’s Sport Trust and Access Sport, which champions disability hockey, and sits on the British and European Olympic Athletes Commissions.

Kate and Helen Richardson, who she married in 2013, made history in Rio by becoming the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic medals while competing for the same team.

Both have now retired from international hockey and have joined a Dutch club side.

Kate is turning to coaching, encouraging the grassroots development of the game.

A highlight of the sporting calendar, the Isle of Man Sports Awards will celebrate the success of the Island’s sportsmen and women at all levels in 2016.

The awards, which are again sponsored by the Isle of Man Bank, will be held on Wednesday, March 22 at the Villa Marina.

Gary Corkhill, executive chairman of Isle of Man Sport, which runs the awards, said: ‘Kate is an inspirational and charismatic leader who helped build the incredible team ethos and commitment that drove the GB team to its nail-biting victory in Rio.

‘Hockey is a popular sport in the island and Kate’s vast international experience means she’ll be a fascinating guest at the awards.’

Kate said: ‘The Isle of Man has a fantastic sporting pedigree and it’s a privilege to be able to take part in the awards.

‘My paternal grandmother’s family originated from the Isle of Man and I have always felt some affinity to the island.

‘I also know from experience how important reward and recognition is in keeping motivation levels high and I’m looking forward to celebrating and sharing in the achievements of the island’s sports men and women at all levels.’

Nominations for awards will be invited in late December and will close in January.

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