Monday, 23 July 2012

No ‘Hand of God’ for this Maradona

‘Maradona’ will represent the Argentina women’s hockey team at London 2012 but, before we go any further, it should be explained that this one is indeed female, and her name is actually Luciana Aymar.

Argentina are currently 7/2 to win the gold, according to the Olympics 2012 athletics betting on Betfair, behind 13/8 favourites, Holland.

She is often referred to as ‘the Maradona of hockey’ due to her ability with the stick, and also because she is up there on an iconic pedestal with the legendary footballer himself.

In fact, Aymar is so idolised in her own country that she has been chosen to carry the Olympic flag ahead of other notable sporting idols, such as tennis player, Juan Martin del Potro, and Luis Scola, a forward with the Houston Rockets.

Voted as Argentinian hockey’s top player no less than seven times, she has so nearly won every honour in the game, but not quite.

In three appearances at the Olympics, she has gained one silver and two bronze medals, but still no gold, and, at the age of 35, London 2012 is going to be her last chance.

It is going to be a tall order when you consider that Argentina won just two gold medals in Beijing, and one of those went to the Lionel Messi-led football team that have failed to qualify this time.

There is hope though, with “Las Leonas” among the fancied contenders in a group that also contains the United States, who caused a real shock when beating Argentina 4-2 at last year’s Pan American Games.

That was Argentina’s first defeat at that tournament since 1987, and meant that the team had to carry on playing to qualify for London, while the U.S. gained instant Olympic qualification.

Britain is in the other half of the draw, and it could well be that the two teams will meet in the Final on 10th August, the date of Aymar’s 35th birthday; what a leaving present that would be for the woman regarded as the best female sportsperson ever to emerge from Argentina.

Of course, hockey is just one of the many sports due to be contested in London; visit the Betfair boxing website, and enjoy the best odds on Team GB’s combatants.

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