Parkes' Mariah Williams selected in Hockeyroos Tokyo Olympics squad

PARKES' GOLDEN GIRL: Mariah Williams with her ticket to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where she will be playing with the Hockeyroos. Photo: Supplied.

PARKES' GOLDEN GIRL: Mariah Williams with her ticket to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where she will be playing with the Hockeyroos. Photo: Supplied.

One of Parkes' favourite hockey exports, Mariah Williams, is heading the the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The talented forward, who has represented Australia 86 times, scoring 16 goals, was named in the Hockeyroos Olympic squad on Monday and was pumped when she talked to the Parkes Champion Post on Wednesday.

"It's a very exciting time for the girls, but at the same time we're all together as a squad for the first time today with those that weren't selected so it is a bittersweet moment in some respects," she said.

It will be the second Olympics for Williams, following Rio de Janeiro in 2016, though she admitted selection felt a little different ahead of Tokyo.

"It is definitely a different feeling this time round.

"In 2016, I was young and wasn't there for all the previous four years in the lead-up, so in one sense there wasn't any expectation.

"This time I've been invested for five years really, so I'm definitely a bit relieved to be selected and keen to get there and bring back a medal," said Williams.

Both the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos played in a Trans-Tasman series against arch rival New Zealand earlier this month as an audition for Tokyo, and each came away with the series win.

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More importantly for Williams and the Hockeyroos though, the series represented a chance to put some of the off-field drama of the past year behind them; and Williams said they did exactly that.

"It was really the perfect way to put everything that has come up this year behind us.

"We spoke about needing to dig deep and look ahead and we've done that. We're coming together as a group really well and are ready to rip in.

"New Zealand are quite a hard team to play and are very similar to us - they give a lot of heart and are one of our main rivals, so we learned a lot from the series," Williams said.

Williams first picked up a hockey stick aged four in Parkes, and had a few pieces of advice for aspiring Hockeyroos or Kookaburras running around on Mariah Williams Field - and it was all to do with loving the game.

"You've got to really love hockey to succeed at it.

"The thing that pushes me everyday is how much I love hockey and love the girls - they make it easy to show up everyday, and when you love it those teammates turn into family."

"Then it's about putting in hard work, and you'll be rewarded."

The squad will fly to Darwin on July 10 to begin acclimitising, before flying on to Tokyo a week or so later - with the team set to play their first game on July 25 against Spain.

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