Gus aims to raise £5k to help Zimbabwe team on way to Tokyo Olympics

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By The Sidmouth Herald

A hockey coach who trains his players from his home more than 7,500 miles away is hoping to secure a spot at next year’s Olympics.

Gus McVey, from Sidmouth, was appointed head coach to the Zimbabwe national ladies team in December and is hoping to raise £5,000 towards accommodation, transport and kit for their next tournament.

The Zimbabwean had six weeks to prepare the team for their first international tournament in 15 years, walking away with a bronze medal and a world ranking of 66.

Due to his full time job at Exeter College, the Sidmouth resident uses WhatsApp and live streaming to connect with his coaching staff and players to watch live training sessions and discuss analysis – all from his home 7,740 mile away.

During the school Easter break, McVey recently travelled over to lead a two week training camp ahead of the Africa Olympic qualifiers in Cape Town in August. Success would mean the team would participate at Tokyo 2020.

McVey said: “It is unique. I speak to the coaches and talk to everyone on WhatsApp and discussing analysis is very important. Technology there is impressive. It’s so easy to do, there is only an hour’s difference. I’m dedicated but I’m not crazy.

“I had that ‘oh wow’ moment on the plane. I come from Sidmouth and travel round the world to train the players and we have a chance that we could go to the Olympics next year. It is quite a big life changing moment.

“They were struggling with money so I thought I would try and raise £5,000 that would go towards paying for accommodation, some transport goalkeeping kit and kit so when they walk out onto the pitch they look smart and they have pride.”

McVey has lived in the town for 28 years coaching at the hockey club and runs Exeter College’s hockey academy. He has coached the Zimbabwe ladies’ masters and men’s over-40s teams to top 10 finishes.

McVey said: “It’s a phenomenal honour. I feel a real sense of pride. Sport has been huge in my life, without it I would never have gone around the world or travelled as far as I have. Zimbabweans all over the world -we need your help and support to give our team a shot at getting to Tokyo.”

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