So how does a prospective Olympian and brain surgeon unwind during an international hockey tournament, when a copy of The Lancet is not immediately to hand?

For Abi Walker, the Scotland and GB goalkeeper, recently on duty at the Champions Trophy in Argentina, the solution was obvious. In her hotel room at night in Rosario, she happily flicked through her favourite Batman and Superman comics. She reckons Superhero would be her third career choice if hockey and surgery ever fell through.

Walker is one of a quartet of players who could equal the record for Scotland's contribution to GB women's hockey at the Olympics (matching four in 1988), which may indeed qualify them as super-heroines in sporting terms. The Bearsden player certainly admits she feels a great sense of Scottish pride when she steps on to the field.

"I definitely do feel very Scottish. I think there is something special about having players from Scotland, Wales and England all representing Great Britain. I am very conscious that I want there to be Scottish representation at the Olympics and I want as many of the others to get in the team as possible."

The team have just returned home from the Champions Trophy where they made history as the first GB team to win a silver medal at the tournament for the top eight teams in the world. As it stands, Walker, who celebrated her 30th birthday on the field, is the team's second goalkeeper and fighting for a place in what would be her first Olympics.

"I played against the world's No 1 team, Holland, in the group matches. You always want to spend every minute of every game on the pitch obviously, but you have to accept the job you're given in the team. I think we're pretty lucky that we're blessed with probably the best goalie in the world [England's No 1 Beth Storry]. If you look at the situation in the team we're really fortunate that there are two of us who equally could do a good job in goal. She is one of my best friends and I've said to her, 'Beth, if I can't play then you are the person I would want to be playing'. And I just feel really proud watching one of my friends doing well."

Two other west of Scotland girls, Laura Bartlett from the west end of Glasgow and Emily Maguire from Paisley, were also representing GB in Argentina and both played in the semi-final against Germany in over 40 degrees. Between spells on the pitch the players were collapsing, vomiting and covering themselves with ice.

But for 24-year-old Maguire, the pain of losing the final against Argentina was far worse than the physical inconveniences and has made her "hungry for more".

"After the whistle, all I could think was, what more could I have done for the team, and how much it hurt to fall at the final hurdle."

Maguire's team-mate, 23-year-old Bartlett, said her first experience of the Champions Trophy was invaluable looking ahead to the London Olympics.

"I just tried to relish every moment and enjoy the experience; and obviously winning a silver medal was unbelievable. I remember standing on the pitch and not being able to hear myself think because the crowd was going wild."

Bartlett spent her down time enjoying the team's banter and occasionally "getting up to no good". "Sometimes it's quite nice just being in your room chilling out watching box sets; I watched Prison Break and Jury in Argentina," she said. "But the team also mingle a lot and we play pranks on each other."

Mother and PE teacher at the High School of Dundee, Vikki Bunce, had a different experience of the Champions Trophy. Having injured the fat pad of her foot prior to the warm-up tournament, Bunce stayed at home and spent 10 days in a "boot" to offload the pressure and a lot of time on the bike.

"It was fantastic to watch the girls on television. It was really clear that the hard work that we put in on the training field is paying off. It was hard to watch the team that you would love to be playing in, but all this helps to push you on and inspire you more."

The prospect of the Olympic selection is the lure for Bunce, who turns 29 today. She has to balance motherhood with work and hockey, constantly commuting to the squad's base at Bisham Abbey in Berkshire. The decision to focus on hockey came when her partner was made redundant last June.

"We decided that he would cover my post at the school while I train for the Olympics. There is still a long way to go with regards to selection, but the whole squad is working hard to reach the goal of a gold medal – some- thing we talk about every day."

o Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, support women's hockey from grassroots level through to the Great Britain national team. For more details, go to