Following in the footsteps of Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh is a tough task but Great Britain’s Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson hope to do their country proud at Tokyo 2020. 

Kate and Helen became the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic gold when Team GB roared to a first-ever women’s hockey triumph at the 2016 Games. 

Jones and Wilkinson, who met on international duty with Wales and have been together for seven years, have played together at two Commonwealth Games but experiencing an Olympic Games side by side would be the pinnacle. 

“It’s a very unique experience to play alongside your other half,” said Jones, 30. 

“We create incredible memories alongside all our team-mates and staff and I don't think there's anything else in the world that replicates the relationships you build on a sporting pitch.

“To do that with your other half, not only for one team, but for club and for country, it's an absolute privilege and we could probably right write a book on the ridiculous stories that we've created together. 

“The ups and downs are probably higher and lower than in a normal relationship maybe, but if we could go to Tokyo that would be even greater.

“Kate and Helen continue to be great ambassadors for LGBT+ issues, disability sport amongst others, and I don’t think we’ll live up to them any time soon, but they’re role models for us and we’re incredibly thankful for them paving the way for us.”

Since Rio, key figures have left the Great Britain set-up with the Richardson-Walshes, Georgie Twigg, Sophie Bray, Sam Quek and Alex Danson among them and Mark Hager replacing Danny Kerry as head coach. 

Jones, who made her GB debut in 2018, is part of a generation of players aiming to build on their legacy and deal with the expectation of heading to Tokyo next summer as defending champions. 

Britain will be in a group with world No.1 side Netherlands and Rio bronze medallists Germany, but Jones is bullish about how they will respond to the pressure cooker of the Games. 

“To sum up the last four years: there’s been a lot of change,” said Jones. 

“We've come out of the other side as an incredibly strong group of players and staff. That's down to us living up to our values every day and working incredibly hard. 

“In some ways, I'm almost thankful for an extra year of us training and playing together, because we really can build on what we've got here and be a better group of players and staff when we get to Tokyo next year.

“Britain will be expected to be up there in women's hockey now and that's good - there's pressure there. 

“When you go in as reigning champions, you have to deal with that and whilst you go in with the legacy of the girls in Rio, we very much have our own identity and the way we go about that will look very different. 

“The way you deal with that pressure will come from within, and I think we're capable of doing that together.”

Banbury Cake: Jones and Wilkinson are currently selling their house through PurplebricksJones and Wilkinson are currently selling their house through Purplebricks

Jones has laid down routes in Epsom, Surrey and owns a home with partner and GB team-mate Leah Wilkinson, who she met playing for Wales seven years ago. 

The pair are keen gardeners and have given their home plenty of tender loving care but for a variety of reasons, a move now awaits and they are selling their house with Purplebricks.

“It’s the first place we’ve owned together - we’ve become happy homeowners - all the sad things you see your parents do, we’ve become those people!” said Jones.

“We’re mad keen gardeners too and lockdown has really brought out the green-fingered side in both of us. 

“But we both agree it’s time for a move, we’re thinking about renting closer to where we train in the short term. Leah is a teacher in Epsom and my post-hockey future is pending, so we’ll make a decision from there.

“Everyone has found out in lockdown how important space around you is. We’re very proud to own a home and we’ve tried to make it somewhere we feel good in coming back to.”

Purplebricks is the UK’s leading estate agent and is open for business for in-home or virtual appointments. As the Official Estate Agent of Team GB, they are encouraging the nation to get behind the national squad and show the value of home support in the build-up to Tokyo. For more information visit www.purplebricks.co.uk.