Glasgow-born Bartlett set for the Olympics

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A TRIO of Scottish women have been named in the penultimate squad of 18 players for the London Olympics, to be reduced to 16 before the Games begin.

Glasgow-born striker Laura Bartlett, one half of a twin sister pairing who together joined the southside Clydesdale Western club as juniors, will compete in her second Games, after she was called up as an injury replacement in Beijing.

Goalkeeper Abi Walker - also a Glasgow-born product of the Titwood-based Western club - is the third member of the 18-strong party.

However she is one of the two permitted ’non-travelling’ reserves, who can expect to drop out of the final 16 before the Games competition begins.

Defender and short-corner specialist, Emily Maguire has also been named in the squad after moving to Reading two seasons ago to further her Olympic prospects.

Clydesdale Western have a distinguished history of producing Olympic-level hockey players, and in 1992 had three players in Great Britain’s bronze medal-winning team, including Wendy Fraser (now Justice), who is still involved with the club, and is a PE teacher at Craigholme School in Pollokshields.

Laura Bartlett, last year’s GB Athlete of the Year, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be selected to represent my country and I cannot wait to play in front of the passionate British crowds.

“ To be named in the squad for London is the ultimate prize for the past four years of hard work”.

Since the 2008 Olympic Games, Team GB hockey athletes have won medals at eight major World or European competitions.

The run of success includes England’s bronze medal victories in the World Cup, European Championships, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy, Scotland’s bronze medal at last year’s Champions Challenge and European Championships - and Great Britain’s most recent silver medal at the Champions Trophy.

The team will be looking to improve on their sixth place finish at the last Olympics in Beijing and inspire the nation by challenging for a medal in London this summer.

They are currently ranked fourth in the world, having risen up the rankings from 11th over the past six years under the leadership of head coach Danny Kerry.