SARAH ROBERTSON will have familiar faces and accents around her in Tokyo this summer. Just none with hockey sticks in their luggage.

Being named in the GB Olympic squad undoubtedly represents a high watermark for the 27-year-old from the Borders who embodies the power of perseverance after rebounding from her disappointment at missing out on Rio to secure her seat on the plane five years later.

 It perhaps heightens her achievement that she is the only Scot among the 32 male and female hockey players selected, a fact that again highlights that those from parts of the UK other than England tend to have to work a little bit harder to force their way into contention.

 The decision not to select Alan Forsyth, for many seasons now the leading goal scorer in English club hockey, and Amy Costello, another British regular from north of the border, in the Tokyo travelling party again raised eyebrows about the process and just how inclusive Team GB – effectively run by England Hockey – really is.

 Robertson can’t speak on behalf of those who picked the squads but she does not shy away either from the notion that the system has been historically weighted against those from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, even if she believes it is slowly improving.

“If I’m honest, I think getting selected for the Olympics as a home nations [non-English] athlete is a slightly harder journey,” she said.

“There are a few things that make it harder. Being Scottish I had to move down there and completely relocate my life.

“I left uni when I was 20 to do that. Players that grow up in England are potentially recognised earlier and get opportunities earlier. They’re in the system and they’re known about.

“But it has improved with the EDP [Elite Development Programme] and GB Hockey has done a lot of work over the years to try to improve that over the years. But there is still a bit of work to be done on that front

“It’s disappointing to be the only Scot selected. If you look at where Scottish Hockey sits in terms of both the men’s and women’s programmes, they’re both strong teams. So to have only one player from that is disappointing.

 “When the numbers are crunched like that it doesn’t look good but I’m hoping to certainly fly the Scottish flag strongly in Tokyo.”

Robertson could have made it in another ball sport. A talented footballer in her youth, she played for Scotland Under-17s and Hibernian Ladies where former team-mates included Caroline Weir who will also be making her Olympic debut next month.

“Football was my first love as a sport,” she admits. “I played until I was 16 or 17 which was the breaking point. It’s a game where if you’re not in the starting XI then you’re on the bench for 80 minutes, then only come on for the last 10.

“That was my experience compared to hockey which is a rotational sport with more opportunity. It’s amazing that Caroline is going to the Olympics too as we both came through the same path initially.”

Another Selkirk High School alumna, Maddie Arlett, is also heading to the Far East as part of the GB rowing team.

And Robertson credits her Borders background – and the tutelage of former GB player Janet Jack – for helping carry her to this point.

“It was complete pot luck that I stumbled across Janet in my career coming from a tiny part of Scotland, growing up playing on grass pitches.

“When I was good enough to join a club I met Janet who had gone as part of Team GB to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“That was completely by chance. And over the past 15 or 16 years she’s provided constant mentorship and support. She’s improved me so much as a player so I owe her a lot.”

Robertson has taken the long road to get to this point and did question her future in the sport when she didn’t make it to Rio five years ago when the British team secured gold. But she is glad now that she stuck in.

“I remember in 2008 being so inspired by seeing Kelly Holmes winning double gold,” she recalled.

“I just loved different sports growing up. And even from the age of seven or eight I have school jotters where I wrote that I wanted to go to the Olympics.

“I think originally I wanted to go for running but I’m much happier playing hockey. I’ve played the long game and I’m glad it’s all coming together at this point.”