Hockey: Bertram and Dunlop stake claim for qualifiers

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The Independent Online

The final stages of the selection process for the Great Britain squad, who will battle for a place in Athens at the Olympic qualifier in Madrid next month, have been taking place in typically wet and cold English January conditions in Havant over the last three days. The squad is expected to be announced early next week.

The final stages of the selection process for the Great Britain squad, who will battle for a place in Athens at the Olympic qualifier in Madrid next month, have been taking place in typically wet and cold English January conditions in Havant over the last three days. The squad is expected to be announced early next week.

Though handicapped by the absence due to injuries of two near-certain selections - England's Danny Hall and Scotland's Graham Moodie - there were encouraging signs of revived confidence under their new coach, Jason Lee.

Most significant was the form of two defenders, Tom Bertram, who is back after an 18-month absence spent completing his medical studies, and Scotland's Graham Dunlop playing on the left side.

While the performance of Russell Garcia - returning after his controversial departure from the international scene just prior to the 2000 Sydney Games following his earlier three-month ban for taking cocaine - brought a touch of class and experience to the midfield, he did not seem altogether at ease with the extremely flexible pattern of play Lee has introduced.

The Madrid qualifier is probably a little early for Garcia but with qualification in the bag, he is likely to play a significant role in Britain's Athens build-up and, at 34, will perhaps add a third Olympic appearance to his remarkable career.

Mike Corby, the president of English Hockey Association and arguably one of the most talented players Britain has ever produced, has been named as the 2003 winner of The Times Sydney Friskin Memorial Award for his outstanding services to the sport.

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