Four-time Olympian Kayla Whitelock has torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee and is now unavailable for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Vantage Black Sticks defender, with 260 caps for her country, injured her right knee in the fourth and final match of the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North last night.
Vantage Black Sticks Head Coach Graham Shaw said his heart went out to Kayla.
“It’s often an overused term but Kayla truly is a legend of our game, and it was a heart-breaking moment when she shared the extent of her injury with the team today.”
“Kayla will be a massive loss to the team both on and off the field in Tokyo.”
Vantage Black Sticks Captain Stacey Michelsen said many players, including herself, had looked up to Whitelock as youngsters.
“Kayla was an inspiration to all of the current Black Sticks when we were growing up and continued to play that role over her entire career.
“We are absolutely devastated that her Olympic dream has ended this way.”
Whitelock would have joined Barbara Kendall and Valerie Adams as the only Kiwi women to attend five Olympics if she’d made it to Tokyo.
Both Black Sticks squads for the Olympics will be named on Thursday 10 June.