Tom Watkins says winning a gold medal with Great Britain at the World Championship tournament in Belfast is one of the best moments of his career.
Watkins (above left) worked alongside Corey Neilson as assistant to Pete Russell as GB secured promotion to Division 1A with five wins out of five.
“It was a busy three weeks, with training camp in Coventry and then the tournament in Belfast, but it has been an amazing experience,” said Watkins.
“To do it on home soil, in a great city like Belfast, made the whole event such a memorable occasion for us all.
“It wasn’t just a case of beating Japan on Saturday, but the whole process of getting the players together was great, because the guys know each other so well.
“There is great camaraderie in the squad and superb leadership. After just 24 hours together in Coventry, you could feel the keenness from every player.
“I think that was a massive key to the group’s success. The team spirit, the never-say-die attitude, the willingness to fight and compete for each other.
“As a team, it was like the experience you often get at a club side.
“It is always a massive honour to represent your country and of course we were disappointed in the last two years when we won silver.
“To go one better and win gold at your home tournament, with all the added pressure that brings, is a phenomenal achievement for everyone involved.”
GB will now turn their attention to preparations for next year’s tournament – the highest level below the ‘world group’ of leading nations.
“It is a big step up, but I think this group likes to be in the underdog situation,” Watkins added.
“Playing teams like Norway and the others brings the best out of us. It is a very exciting time for the national team and we’re moving up to a tough group.
“It will be very exciting to be there and hopefully it will be another rewarding experience for all of us.
“It’s been a rollercoaster season and I was lucky enough to share the experience with my family, who were in Belfast at the weekend.”
(Image permission: Dean Woolley)