Jaimo on standby for GB’s Olympic qualifying bid

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LIGHTNING star Leigh Jamieson has been named as a reserve for Great Britain’s ice hockey team in their bid to qualify for the Winter Olympics for the first time in more than 60 years.

Britain, who won the gold medal in the 1936 Winter Games in Germany, travel to Latvia for a four-team tournament in early February where only the winners will join the sport’s biggest nations at Sochi 2014.

Jamieson, from Milton Keynes, recently took part in a two-day training camp with 31 other players named in the preliminary squad to travel to Riga where Britain face the host nation on February 7, followed by France and Kazakhstan.

The 32-man squad has been trimmed to just 22 and Jamieson is one of nine players on standby to play in Latvia should anyone be forced to pullout through injury.

The 27-year-old was also named as a reserve for Britain’s earlier pre-qualifying tournament in Japan last year, but went on to play a significant part in the team’s success which saw them reach the final qualifying stage.

Britain, who were bronze medallists in 1924, last competed at the Winter Games in 1948, and their bid to reach Sochi 2014 makes their three matches in Latvia their biggest in more than half a century.

Head coach Tony Hand said: “I believe this is a very competitive team and one of the most talented British squads I’ve ever known.

“We’re going to Latvia as the underdogs and I’m sure most people in the ice hockey world don’t expect us to qualify. But this is the most close-knit squad I have worked with and they believe in their own abilities.

“There is no doubting that it’s going to be tough, but we are going out there and will do Great Britain proud.

“As with the trip to Japan, some quality players have been left out. However, many of them are amongst the reserves and we can call upon them if need-be.”