Lucky Hilton makes Black Sticks side

Blair Hilton thought he might have done his Olympic chips when he was ruled out of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament late last month.

The 22-year-old former Tawa College pupil suffered appendicitis before a ball was hit in Malaysia, and after the Black Sticks' win, Hilton thought the worst.

"I was quite nervous," he said after he was included in the 16 man Olympic squad. "I thought I had a chance before I got appendicitis. When the team played pretty well without me, I thought I might be out of luck.

"I remember getting a letter in the mail for the last Olympics saying I was on the long list, which was about 100 players long, and I was happy about that. To be part of it now is incredible."

One of the first people to congratulate Hilton was his brother Jason, 24, a mainstay of the Wellington national league team but not yet in the Black Sticks frame.

"He was always better than me through the age groups," Blair Hilton said. "I always aspired to be better than him and I got a couple of good breaks.

"He's had some injuries. He's always been one of Wellington's best players and he's unfortunate there are so many strong players in his position but after the Olympics there could be some retirements."

Hilton is still on light duties because of his illness but sneaked in a Wellington club game on Saturday for Indians.

He hopes he will have some family support in London "but they might have to do a sausage sizzle on the main road in Tawa".

Contact Jonathan Millmow
Sports editor

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