A former Queen Elizabeth School pupil has been offered a full-time place in the Great Britain hockey women’s programme in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Fiona Crackles hails from Kirkby Lonsdale and has represented Great Britain at various age groups.

The 20-year-old received her first call up to the senior team in October 2020 and made her debut against the Netherlands, featuring in all four FIH Hockey Pro League games against the Dutch and Belgium.

Currently studying at Durham University, Fiona was delighted with the announcement.

She said: “It is very exciting.

“I guess it’s been very slow to sink in.

“I still just see myself as someone who plays hockey because they enjoy it.

“After such an amazing experience with the FIH Hockey Pro League I was pretty content, I wasn’t expecting something to come off the back of it so it was amazing to be asked.”

Head coach Mark Hager added: “Having joined us for some training last year, Fiona showed signs of being a player who could cope well on the international stage and showed an impressive understanding of the game.

“She looked really comfortable on her debut against the Dutch and improved in each game.”

Alongside the Tokyo Olympics, the FIH Hockey Pro League and EuroHockey Championships will also be taking place this summer.

With the chance to cement her place in the GB team, Fiona has revealed she is keen to impress Hager.

“Obviously, the Olympics is the long-term goal, but I’m feeling incredibly lucky to be in the situation I am, to still be playing the sport I love in this crazy world," she said.

“I want to enjoy every day as much as I can while putting a shift in and work as hard as I can.”

The invite caps a whirlwind spell for the rising star.

Speaking after she made her international bow, Fiona said: “It was a dream of mine, it is quite ridiculous that it became a reality really.

“It still doesn’t really feel like it happened.

“Going through the age groups and starting hockey as a junior it is something that you hope it would happen, but you kind of think it won't happen to you.

“So when that opportunity came about especially in these times when people aren’t even playing their sports, I was very grateful to be asked with the whole circumstances of everything.”

The Olympics were originally due to be held in Japan last year but had to be postponed as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe.