When the English hockey star Nick Bandurak was interview his new Ryde Hockey Club teammates in 2014 asked him what phrase he would tattoo on his body. His answer was perhaps more revealing than he realized at the time.
“Remember and respect the past, consolidate your current achievements and be ambitious for the future,” he said.
At the time, Bandurak was an under-21 international and represented England’s youth teams at all age levels. The whole world expected that a successful career in the senior team would be close to becoming a reality.
But nearly a decade later, the Wolverhampton-bred striker had yet to make his full international debut as he watched friends and colleagues from his entourage rise up through the ranks.
“For nine years, I’ve been outside and looking inside,” said Bandurak Team GB before flying out for the World Hockey Championships, which takes place in India from January 13 to 29. “There were times – and I would never admit it to the outside world – when I believed my chance was gone.”
Nick Bandurak: Making up for lost time
It wasn’t until February 2022 that Bandurak finally made his international debut, marking the beginning of his adventurous ambitions for the future.
Through a gale of 12 months he left Debuting in England bronze medalist of the Commonwealth Games and now he is aiming for the first World Cup triumph in his country’s history.
The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – the first major international tournament he played in – was more than a turning point for the English striker.
After scoring an amazing 11 goalsBandurak finished the tournament as best shooterahead of many players with many years of international experience.
However, rather than getting carried away by his own success, Bandurak showed a kind of humility perhaps reserved for those who had to go through so many setbacks to achieve their goals.
“It’s just my job,” he said Yahoo sports. “Everyone has important roles in the team, I happen to put the ball in goal, it’s no different than anyone else, it just results in it working in our favor on the scoreboard.”
Nick Bandurak: Boldly ambitious to shoot in Paris 2024 in the future
After proving his worth internationally at Birmingham, Bandurak was selected to travel to his first World Cup tournament in India in January and hit the ground running with a goal off the bench in England’s 5–0 first group match against Wales.
He was once again selected as a substitute in their 0-0 draw with India but has a chance to lead his side to the quarter-finals if he adds 21 goals from 23 matches against Spain on Thursday 19 January.
Now in his 30s, Bandurak can start dreaming of another goal that would have seemed fanciful just a few months ago after a ten-year wait for an international call-up: the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“Going to the Olympics in Paris would be surreal,” said Team GB. “What really served me well was being present, but it’s impossible not to be aware of the Olympics.”
But before he can focus on the next Olympics in France, he is fully focused on consolidating his present, starting with showing his best side at the World Championships in India.
“Personally, I have a lot of work to do to reach that level and have an impact on this stage,” he said of the next two years, which include the World Cup and Paris 2024. “The bars have moved forward this morning after winning bronze in Birmingham and focusing on the World Championships. That’s why we love this game and enjoy driving it like you wouldn’t believe it.”