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Water polo players win Team GB call-up
CUMBRIA’S triumvirate of water polo players have all been selected to represent Britain in the 2012 London Olympics.
The delighted trio of Chloe Wilcox, of Reagill, Shap, Alex Rutlidge from Burton-in-Kendal and Glen Robinson, from Kendal, were unveiled with their fellow squad members at a press conference in Manchester.
Team GB’s men will face a tough group stage with matches against reigning Champions Hungary, the USA and Serbia – the silver and bronze medallists in 2008 as well as Montenegro and Romania.
The women’s team will take on Italy, Russia and Australia, bronze medallists from Beijing.
The water polo event will take place from 29th July to 12th August at the Water Polo Arena in the Olympic Park. The women's gold-medal match will be contested on 9th August, while the men's gold-medal match will take place on 12th August.
Hungary are the team to beat in the men’s event, having won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. The women’s event has so far has been won by Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.
The addition of the water polo athletes brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 314 from 27 sport disciplines.
The athletes were formally nominated to the BOA for selection to Team GB by British Swimming, the National Governing Body for water polo in the UK.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “It is great to announce another piece of British Olympic history with the selection of the first ever Team GB women’s water polo team to compete at the Olympic Games, and the first men’s team to feature since the 1956 Olympics.
“Both the men’s and women’s squads have an abundance of young athletes, which bodes well for the future of the sport. While both teams face stiff opposition in their respective groups I have every confidence that with the support of the home crowd behind them they will deliver very competitive and credible performances.
“Importantly, London 2012 presents a fantastic opportunity to showcase a sport which has its roots in this country and in which Team GB claimed no less than four consecutive gold medals in the early Olympic Games. We hope the exciting performances of the Team GB athletes selected today will inspire many young people to give water polo a try and deliver a long term legacy for the sport across the UK.”