Monday, March 8, 2010


Aborigines are making rapid progress in Australian sports. Desmond Abbott, is one such indigenous Australian, who has not only found a place for himself in the national team but have also grown to become one of the deadliest strikers in the world hockey.

The 23-year-old from Darwin in Northern Territory, came into the spotlight in the Beijing Olympics, with the bronze winning Kookaburas. Abbott turned out to be a revelation in Beijing and scored six goals in the tournament, including a hat-trick on debut.

In the ongoing World Cup, Abbott has live up to his reputation and has been the pivotal force in Australia’s attack.

Abbott feels that he made the right choice by shifting to hockey from rules football. He was a promising Australian footballer and was also identified by AFL talent scouts in his teens, but chose hockey to the more-travelled route to sporting glory. He moved to Perth in 2005 and within two years made his international debut. And 12 months later he was toast of the Kookaburras at Beijing.

"I was decent at rules football. I was good at kicking and marking, but somehow fell in love with hockey. If I had opted for footy, I would have to wait for 18 years before making it to the big league. But with hockey, I was noticed at the age of 15 or 16. I personally feel that hockey is faster and it requires more skill and is also good to watch,” Abbott told

For Abbott, playing in the Beijing Games early on in his career was a first big step.

“It was a great achievement for me. It was my first biggest tournament and I feel I did well. Six goals in an Olympics was no mean feat for me,” said Abbott.

However, after, the Olympics he had moved on to Amsterdam to play in the Dutch league, which is considered as the nursery of top players.

“The Dutch league is the place where all the top players play. It is like a university in hockey. It is surely helping me to develop as a better player,” he said.

Chief coach Ric Charlesworth sees a great future for Abbott, but has a piece of advice for the youngster.

“Des will be crucial in the team for the 2012 Olympics in London. He is a strong player and very skillful. But he is prone to injuries. It would be interesting to see how he matures and takes care of his injuries,” he said.