Karen Owen - Welsh Lacrosse Legend

The Welsh Lacrosse Association is very saddened to announce the death of Karen Owen, aged 49. Goalkeeper for Wales, international umpire and technical delegate. Karen sadly lost her 3 year battle with cancer and died peacefully at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London on Wednesday 10thAugust 2016.

Karen played for her club, Purley, her county, Surrey, her territory, South and Wales but it is with Wales that she made her greatest contribution as a key member of the 1997 World Cup team that achieved Wales’ best ever world ranking of fourth. Overall, she was ever present in goal for Wales between 1990 and 2005, playing in four World Cup tournaments (Edinburgh, Tokyo, High Wycombe and Annapolis). Karen was a European Championships gold medalist in 2004. She gained 99 caps over her international career.

It is often said that defenders win matches and Karen, often known as KO, certainly played her part in Wales’ success in many tournaments and demonstrated that she was a world-class goalkeeper.

After retiring from playing she moved into the field of umpiring and soon demonstrated that she was a natural. Karen’s judgment, calmness and game understanding was rewarded at the 2009 World Cup when she was selected to umpire the gold medal match; a remarkable story in itself. Poignantly, she was to withdraw from umpiring at the next World Cup, taking place in Canada in 2013, to start her medical treatment.

Karen also developed an interest in golf after she retired from playing lacrosse. Members of Wimbledon Common Club met a player who could hit the ball hard and far but most of all with great accuracy. Her best handicap of 13 was no fluke and her competitive experience elevated Karen to be the strongest player in the club. Karen was club champion in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and won a number of prestigious club competitions in partnership with Madge Corbitt. Karen also made a crucial contribution to the club’s development in her role as the ladies captain for 4 years from 2009.

Karen will be sorely missed in the lacrosse world. She gave back to her sport, being a selector, WLA director of performance and FIL competitions committee member. Karen was impressively quiet at getting on with the doing whilst being mindful of the bigger picture. She always saw fair play, was incredibly loyal to her team and excelled at spotting peoples’ strengths. Her drive, warmth and courage was admired by all. KO was much loved by her team mates and enjoyed nothing more than a get together with them and her much loved partner Madge.

Gordon F Shumack President  

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