Three time Olympian Fergus Kavanagh set to retire
8 November 2016
HOCKEY: West Australian local Fergus Kavanagh has today announced he will retire from the Australian national hockey team, the Kookaburras, after a 231-game playing career which saw him win two Olympic Games bronze medals, two World Cup titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, a World League title and five Champions Trophy victories.
Kavanagh signs of an exceptional career in hockey on a high after winning Hockey Australia’s Player of the Year at the annual awards ceremony which was held in Perth last night.
Kavanagh, of Geraldton in WA, called time on his International playing career after debuting for the Kookaburras in 2007 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against India on 5 May, with his last outing for the Kookaburras the quarter finals of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games against the Netherlands.
The 31-year-old first picked up a hockey stick at the age of eight, following in the footsteps of his older brother Tom. Fergus progressed quickly through the hockey world, with his Dad regularly making the trip from Geraldton to Perth to take him to training sessions.
A year after his debut for the Kookaburras, the world class defender was selected for his first Olympic Games at the age of 23, where the Australian men’s hockey team won an Olympic bronze medal.
Of the experience, Kavanagh said: “I have been part of a great team for a long time, with lots of proud moments. Personally, for me, one of my proudest moments was on the Olympic podium in Beijing with my family and friends watching in the stadium. In terms of the team, the proudest moment I had with the Kookaburras was winning the 2014 World Cup.”
Kavanagh went on to become a stalwart of the Kookaburras, celebrating his 200th cap in game one of the World League semi-final in Antwerp in 2015, where the Kookaburras delivered a crushing 10 – nil defeat to France.
Triple Olympian Kavanagh commented on his retirement: “For ten years the Kookaburras have been a huge part of my life and the most important thing for me, but now I have reached a point in my life where I want to do other things and I know that it is the right time for me to step away from the Kookaburras.”
Thanking his inner network for their support during his Kookaburras career, Kavanagh said: “I would like to thank my parents and brother for their support, especially during my junior days when my Dad had to drive me from Geraldton to Perth twice a week for training. Also, to my Irish family who would travel around the world and come to our tournaments, even although it made it pretty confusing for opposition fans - Aussie fans with Irish accents!
“I would like to acknowledge the University of Western Australia and the Fogarty Foundation for their support during my Engineering / Commerce degree. Their support allowed me to successfully combine hockey and study.
“Finally, I would like to thank my girlfriend Adinda, who has been a great support over the last few years and moved to Australia for the Rio Olympic preparation to support me; along with all the coaches I have had throughout the years, especially Paul Gaudoin, Graham Reid, Ric Charlesworth, and Barry Dancer.”
Commenting on Fergus’ retirement, Kookaburras interim head coach, Paul Gaudoin said: “Fergus will certainly go down as a legend within Australian hockey. He has been a part of arguably the most successful period in Australian men’s hockey history, and is regarded around the world as the best tackler of the past decade thanks to his speed, agility and craft.
“Fergus has a presence which will be missed within the squad, and we wish him all the best for everything he does in the future.”
Although Fergus has retired from Australian international hockey, he will continue to play for Amsterdam in the Dutch league where he plans to settle down with his girlfriend.
FERGUS KAVANAGH CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Debut Game: May 5, 2007 Australia 1 – 0 India at Azlan Shah Cup
Final Game: August 14, 2016 Australia 0 – 4 Netherlands at Rio Olympic Games
2007 – Makes his debut
2008 – Member of the bronze medal winning team at the Beijing Olympics, as well as the winning Champions Trophy Team
2009 – Wins a second consecutive Champions Trophy
2010 – Wins his first Commonwealth Games gold medal, and third Champions Trophy
2011 – Member of the winning Kookaburras Champions Trophy team
2012 – Wins a second bronze Olympic medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, along with a fifth Champions Trophy title
2014 – Won the World Cup in Hague in front of family & friends; as well as a second Commonwealth Games medal in Glasgow
2015 - In the Kookaburras World League winning team
2016 – Concludes his playing career by competing in the Rio Olympic Games where the Kookaburras finished in sixth position.