Kelly Madsen debuted for South Africa in 2009 and quickly blossomed in the for the SA Womens Hockey side. Kelly was quickly selected to the 2010 Commonwealth Games squad as well as later on joining the 2014 FIH World Cup squad. But it’s for Indoor Hockey that takes the centre stage as Kelly and the SA Indoor side head off to Germany for the Indoor World Cup. We chatted to Kelly about all things hockey.
Jabu: You are heading off to the indoor world cup, but you have also played in the outdoor national side, which form of the game do you prefer and why?
Kelly: I don’t think I have a favorite! I miss aspects of the outdoor game when it’s indoor season and vice versa when it is outdoor season. I love the freedom and use of any skill that outdoor brings and I love the speed, intensity and incredible hand speed of skills that comes with indoor.
Jabu: You made your debut in 2009 for the outdoor side, what has been the highlight of your career so far?
Kelly: The highlight has undoubtedly been the outdoor hockey world cup in the Hague last year. I can’t explain what an amazing tournament that was. In an amazing hockey mad nation, the Dutch did not disappoint with an amazing stadium and thousands of supporters. We felt like celebrities! Having the men’s and ladies world cup combined for the first and most probably last time ever was a real treat and something great to be a part of as my cousin Lloyd Madsen was in the men’s team.
Kelly: I am incredibly fortunate to be sponsored by Mr Price Sport. I have been teamed up with them since I was in Matric in 2007. Their ongoing support financially and sport equipment wise has definitely made me one of the more fortunate one’s.
Jabu: Are there any names in the South African Indoor side that the SA public would not have heard of?
Kelly: Hockey players are not well-known generally speaking and I think indoor is even less well-known so I am sure most of the girls are new names to the public. Celia Evans, Kara Stella and myself are three girls in the indoor team who are in the outdoor squad. Cindy Botha was in the outdoor squad but has now retired and is just playing indoor. The others are Lou Walters, Jessica o’ Connor, Amy Greaves, Shelley Higgo, Tracy Martin and the two goal keepers Faye Cooper and Taryn de Winnar
Jabu: Indoor is a smaller game, in terms of numbers on the field, does this build a tighter camaraderie between the girls?
Kelly: We have an awesome bunch of girls who are all great friends which really makes it fun and enjoyable. I definitely think that because there are so few of us in a team that definitely helps because you end up doing things together and having enough time to get to know everyone.
Jabu: What is the team’s goal for the 2015 World Cup?
Kelly: Well, being the lowest ranked team at the tournament, we have to make our goals realistic and take each game as it comes. Unlike other teams we don’t get much exposure to international indoor games so it is very hard to compare ourselves against other teams. Obviously when we go there we are going to try win every game, it’s not in South African’s natures to give up. Realistically we would like to finish around 9th position, however I am gonna fight my hardest to cause as many upsets as possible and hopefully we can creep even higher up that world ranking.
Jabu: And which of our group opposition is likely to be the toughest challenge?
Kelly: We are in “the pool of death” as if to say. Our opening game is against the Netherlands and we also have teams such as Poland and Belarus who are both ranked in the top 4 in the world. No game is going to easy but if we can maybe cause an upset against one of those teams and get a win and then beat the lower ranked teams in our pool then we will be an even happier bunch.
Jabu: Having played in the outdoor world cup, how excited are you to complete the double by playing in the indoor version?
Kelly: It has been a long-time dream of mine. I was picked in the team to qualify for the last World Cup but because of funding we didn’t go and therefore didn’t qualify and so we missed out. I have always loved indoor and if I could play indoor throughout the year, as well as outdoor, I would be in my element.
Jabu: Are you at all concerned that your participation at the Indoor World Cup, and time away from the Summer Series, might ruin your chances of making the 2016 Olympics team?
Kelly: I think there will always be that concern but an indoor world cup is a huge part of my goals just as much as an Olympics is. I know I will never regret going to this indoor world cup regardless of whether I am picked for Olympics or not.
Jabu: The Madsen name is a big name in SA Sport (Cousins Lloyd and Wayne both play professional sport), were family get-togethers quite competitive when you were growing up?
Kelly: Haha of course and they still are! Always very social and very fun but always highly competitive. The scores were always kept and the winners always made it known when the one. But I guess that’s what you would expect when you put a bunch of people together who love to win. We are an exceptionally close family and spent all our holidays growing up together at my grandparents beach cottage at Zinkwazi up the north coast.