Hockey: Coach admits squad is not Olympic standard

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The Independent Online

Great Britain's women have had a disappointing start to their Four Nations Tournament in Virginia Beach. After a 1-1 draw with the United States in their opening game, Japan, registered their first victory over Britain, winning 2-0, a result which the manager Tricia Heberle admitted was not up to standard. "There are some players here who are not up to Olympic level."

With all four teams heading for the Olympic qualifiers in Auckland next March this will be a worrying situation, although eight of the England squad who are likely to be the nucleus of the Great Britain's 16 in New Zealand have not been included in this tournament. Britain play Germany today with the prospect of meeting them again tomorrow to avoid the wooden spoon.

Meanwhile there is no news of the coaching appointments for the men's Olympic programme although a training week starts at Bisham Abbey tomorrow. In spite of the European Bronze medal for England, there appears to be a movement afoot to change direction with appointments at this late stage of the programme. If that were to be the case then the players could be going into the third Olympics in succession with a cloud on the horizon. It is rumoured that several of the England team have threatened to withdraw from the programme if changes are not made.

The highlight of the weekend's league programme will be the clash between Surbiton and Reading at Sugden Road. Reading have added German Justus Scharowsky to their squad.