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Hockey Great Britain squad arrive in Sydney after training in Gibraltar

Great Britain's youth teams landed early in Sydney today to begin their preparations for the forthcoming Australian Olympic Youth Festival. The boys spent the last days of 2006, in Gibraltar, preparing for the event, playing the Gibraltar national side, narrowly defeating the locals 3-2.

It is the first time that Great Britain has sent a team to this prestigious event and it provides a great opportunity for hockey's young international players to experience an Olympic event at the Sydney Olympic Park.

Typically, the 45 strong squad was greeted with unseasonable Sydney weather in the form of a dank showery morning, scenes more reminiscent of a January morning at Heathrow! However, a plethora of brightly clad AOYF volunteers were on hand to ensure a smooth passage through immigration and customs. Early indications would suggest that unsurprisingly, the Australian Olympic committee take this event very seriously.

Both boys and girls will train tomorrow at the Sydney Olympic Hockey Centre, in preparation for test matches against the hosts, prior to the main event in 11 days time. Until then, both squads are enjoying the use of excellent facilities at St Andrews College, Newtown, Sydney. Part of the main Sydney University complex.

Men's Manager Andy Halliday said, “The use of both the college and the excellent facilities at Homebush are ideal preparation for this tremendous event. It will take the athletes a few days to get over the jet lag, but I am hoping we will be in tip top condition for both the Australia test matches and the Olympic festival”.

Above picture taken at training camp in Gibraltar at the end of 2006..."The closeness of the Gibraltar Airport runway was an interesting distraction to training!"

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