Olympic hockey player strips off in bid to win spot on cover of national magazine

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A HOCKEY player is hoping his good looks and muscles will earn him a place on the cover of a top men’s magazine.

Richard Smith is hoping to raise the profile of his sport with a coveted place on the cover of Men’s Health.

The 23-year-old, from Widley, is a fullback with both the England and Great Britain hockey teams and is one of 25 in training for the 2012 Olympics.

Mr Smith and his colleagues are competing in an invitational four nations tournament against Scotland, Germany and Spain, in Largs, Scotland.

They’ve stripped off to show off their honed physiques in a bid to become cover stars.

The annual competition attracts thousands of men each year and the entrants are shortlisted by some of the top names in the health and sport industry.

Mr Smith, a former Purbrook Park School pupil, said: ‘It was really funny.

‘Half the team volunteered to have their photos taken because we really want to raise the profile of hockey.

‘Hockey players have got a lot to offer in terms of athleticism and most of us have to balance hockey with other jobs because we’re not paid as much.

‘I’m doing a masters in business at Loughborough University at the moment and juggling that with working closely with our sponsors at Rampant Clothing and Zoppo.

‘It would be really great to win.’

Mr Smith has agreed to become a columnist for The News in the build-up to the Olympics.

Details on how to vote for the Men’s Health cover star competition will be released in the next few weeks.