Britain's Olympic warm-up

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BILL COLWILL

Great Britain put the finishing touches to their preparations for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which starts in Barcelona on Friday, with two games against Malaysia this weekend at Bisham Abbey.

The manager, David Whittle, was not worried yesterday that Malaysia, one of Britain's seven opponents in Barcelona, would be given a preview. He said: "We play them late in the tournament and they will have had plenty of time to watch us in Barcelona. They are a country desperate to get back into the top six in the world and will give us the tough opposition we need at this stage."

Whittle added: "We have no injury problems and now need to cap the excellent preparation we have been able to make during the past few weeks." Since coming together at the end of November Britain have played eight internationals, and apart from a draw against Argentina, they have won the remaining games, scoring 29 times in the process.

Malaysia, who progressed rapidly up the world rankings under their Australian coach, Terry Walsh, in the lead-up to the Barcelona Olympics, finished three places behind Britain, in ninth, subsequently parting company with Walsh. Currently coached by the German Volker Knapp, they appear to be on the up and can be expected to give Britain the test they want. Their centre-forward, Shankar Ramu, has played for a couple of seasons for Cannock in the National League.

Britain seem likely to give an extended run to Soma Singh at left-half with the rest of the starting line-up looking settled.

GREAT BRITAIN (Probable): S Mason (Reading); J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (Old Loughtonians); G Fordham (Hounslow), Kalbir Takher (Cannock), Soma Singh (Southgate); C Mayer (Cannock), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington, capt), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes: D Luckes (East Grinstead), C Giles (Havant), S Hazlitt (Hounslow), J Shaw (Southgate).

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