You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Now it is coming to a crescendo in Tokyo in just under two months.
Nick Ross, Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell and Hugo Inglis played together in Otago age grade teams when they were growing up.
They are still playing together albeit at a much higher level. The highest level in fact.
The quartet would hop on a plane next month and head to Tokyo to play for the Black Sticks at the Olympics hockey tournament.
They are all key members of the national side.
Tarrant (31) , a defender, is the captain of the national side, which was named yesterday. Inglis (30), a striker, was named vice-captain of the team.
Russell (29), has the all-important role of drag flicker at penalty corners while Ross (30) is a link between midfield and defence.
The four players are all now based in Auckland, where training for the national team occurs but still see themselves as proud Otago players.
Russell said the four of them were always keen to play for Otago when able.
‘‘We all started played together when we were 8 or 9 and since then we have come through together,’’ he said.
‘‘A couple of years ago the three of us [Russell, Tarrant and Inglis] all played for the same club, Rotterdam. That was pretty cool that three guys from Dunedin were over there after starting playing together.’’
For Inglis it will be his third Olympics while Tarrant and Russell will attend their second Olympics while it will be the Olympic debut for Ross.
Dave Ross, the father of Nick Ross, has been instrumental in the development of the four players and Russell said he had guided them all the way.