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Water Polo teams announced for London 2012

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25th June 2012

The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced today 26 athletes - 13 male and 13 female - to represent Team GB in the men’s and women’s water polo competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Great Britain claimed four gold medals in men’s water polo at the early Olympic Games, but have been absent from the competition since 1956.

The women’s event has only been held at the last three Games, and Team GB’s women will be making their Olympic debut in London this summer.

The athletes selected to Team GB today are:

Women:

  • Rosemary Morris (age: 26, born: Birmingham)
  • Robyn Nicholls (age: 22, born: Bolton)
  • Frances Leighton (age: 30, born: Rotherham)
  • Angela Winstanley-Smith (age: 26, born: South Shields)
  • Lisa Gibson (age: 22, born Chichester)
  • Rebecca Kershaw (age: 21, born: Lancaster)
  • Ciara Gibson-Byrne (age: 19, born: Barcelona)
  • Fiona McCann (age: 25, born: Chester)
  • Chloe Wilcox (age: 25, born: Carlisle)
  • Francesca Clayton (age: 22, born: Nottingham)
  • Francesca Painter-Snell (age: 25, born: Auckland)
  • Alexandra Rutlidge (age: 23, born: Lancaster)
  • Hazel Musgrove (age: 23, born: Watford, hometown Warrington)

Men:

  • Edward Scott (age: 24, born: Leeds, hometown Bolton)
  • Matthew Holland (age: 23, born: Carshalton)
  • Joseph O’Regan (age: 21, born: Oldham)
  • Jake Vincent (age: 23, born: Solihull)
  • Robert Parker(age: 24, born: Cheltenham)
  • Craig Figes (age: 33, born: Bristol)
  • Ciaran James (age: 20, born: Bristol, hometown Lancaster)
  • Glen Robinson (age: 23, born: Kendal)
  • Sean Ryder(age: 25, born: Nottingham)
  • Adam Scholefield (age: 27, born: Leeds)
  • Jack Waller (age: 22, born: Enfield)
  • Sean King (age: 23, born: Farnborough)
  • Alexander Parsonage (age: 27, born: Dudley)

Women’s captain Fran Leighton, who won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in 2002 with England, will lead Team GB’s women in to their first Olympic Games. In January this year they progressed to the European Championships for the first time in 15 years, achieving their best result since 1987 when they played in the B final.

I can’t believe this day has finally arrived and I’m actually going to compete at the London Olympics.

The women’s squad includes a mix of youth and experience, with Leighton, aged 30, the oldest member of the team, and Ciara Gibson-Byrne the youngest member at 19 years old.

Leighton said: “I can’t believe this day has finally arrived and I’m actually going to compete at the London Olympics. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.

“The squad has worked hard over the last eight years and it has been a real team effort to get this far. This is just the start for us though; we have lots of work still to do before our first game. It is exciting and an honour for us to finally be joining Our Greatest Team. Bring it on.”

Captaining the men’s squad in London is another Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, 33 year old Craig Figes, who has a strong family history in the water.

I’m so pleased to be able to have the opportunity to play in a home Olympic Games.

His grandmother is a former world record holder, and his mother swam at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. The men’s squad contains ten athletes aged 25 or under.

Figes said: “I am massively excited, this is a huge honour. I’m so pleased to be able to have the opportunity to play in a home Olympic Games. It's mixed emotions for our teammates who haven’t made it through as they have all helped to us to improve and I hope we do them proud in London.”

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.

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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.”

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