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RAF Air Specialist Liam Sanford to compete in FIH Hockey World Cup 2023

Air Specialist Liam Sanford is an Air and Space Operations Specialist (ASOS) in the RAF while also competing in international hockey. 

Liam represents the RAF and UKAF teams at hockey, as well as playing for Old Georgians HC and the England and Great Britain national teams as well.

Liam was the recipient of the RAF Sports Personality of the Year in 2017. He was also the United Kingdom Armed Forces Sports Personality of the year in the awards that followed. Liam is part of the RAF’s Elite Athlete Scheme, allowing him to represent and serve his country at the same time.

Image shows RAF aviator standing on the open cargo holding bay of a carrier aircraft on the airfield.
Off from the Hockey pitch, Liam Sanford is an RAF Air and Space Operations Specialist (ASOS).

Liam made his international debut at senior level in 2017 when he helped England to a 5–2 win over South Africa in Cape Town. Liam’s Great Britain debut came the same year in Johor at Ipoh, Malaysia at the Sultan of Aslan Shah Tournament where GB won gold after defeating Australia 4-2 in the final.

Image shows hockey players on the pitch during a game.
Photo credit to England Hockey.

Liam’s family has a long history of military service spanning three generations, true to form he is a defender who is willing to put his body on the line for his teammates – the 25-year-old is no stranger to making game saving tackles.

Image shows hockey players on the pitch during a game.

Liam has continued to represent the RAF and UK Armed Forces teams in the Inter-Services and County Championships with great success. The RAF Men’s Senior team having been crowned Inter-Services champions every year since 2016 and Liam being awarded player of the tournament on more than one occasion.

Image shows hockey players by the goal during a game.

Having helped England to Commonwealth Games bronze in 2018, a knee injury saw Liam miss much of 2019. But he fought back to help Great Britain qualify for Tokyo 2020 where he helped the team to a fifth-place finish.

Image shows hockey players on the pitch during a game.

A highly respected defender, Liam is known for his incredibly brave defending, often the first person charging down penalty corners and making crunching challenges in and around his own circle.

Returning from a difficult 2022, with a recurring hamstring injury, Liam was selected for the GB Squad that played in Argentina in the Pro League. There he scored his first GB goal against the home nation, helping GB to go top of the table after their first mini tournament.

Image shows a view of an indoor hockey pitch from a full crowd viewing area.
England versus India, at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium. Photo taken by Rod Gilmour, Editor of The Hockey Paper.

With 86 (55 England, 31 GB) International Caps, European and Commonwealth Bronze Medals to his name, the Tokyo Olympian is now playing in his second International Field Hockey (FIH) World Cup.

Liam’s International Honours


  • Sultan Aslan Shah Champions vs Australia - won 4-3
  • European Championships Bronze
  • World League Semi Final Bronze


  • Sultan Aslan Shah Silver against Australia - lost 2-1
  • Commonwealth Games - Bronze
  • FIH World Cup - 4th place


  • 2020 Tokyo Olympics - 5th place

Read more about Liam Sanford