Two months after back surgery, Jenny Duck will take the field for the New Zealand hockey team in Sydney this weekend to prove herself for the Olympics.

The veteran fullback has been given a deadline to show she is back to full fitness before she gets the final nod for the Games.

Duck underwent surgery - a partial discetomy and the removal of bone chips from her spine - while the rest of the New Zealand team were playing in Holland at the Champions Trophy. The tri-series with Germany and Olympic champions Australia will serve as Duck's fitness test.

New Zealand will play both teams twice during the 10-day tournament, starting with Germany tomorrow.

Former New Zealand captain Kate Trolove will play her 150th test, becoming only the second Kiwi woman to reach the mark.


Two Micronesian swimmers have been fleeing country after country - escaping conflict and cholera - in their troubled buildup to the Olympics.

Fifteen-year-old Tracey Anne Route and Welbert Samuel, aged 19, went to Fiji to train because there are no pools in Micronesia.

But they were forced to leave when the coup broke out, and had to swim in the rivers on Pohnpei Island - until there was an outbreak of cholera.

Now the pair have found solace in Darwin, where the Institute of Sport has offered them beds and a pool to swim in.


Three Kiwi showjumpers scattered around the globe will have to wait another five days to discover if they survive the final cut for New Zealand's Olympic equestrian team.

The showjumping shortlist has been sliced to three - Daniel Meech, Bruce Goodin and Peter Breakwell - but only two will go to Sydney.

All three riders are based overseas - Meech in Germany, Goodin in Belgium and Breakwell in the United States.

Already cut from the list are former Olympians John Cottle and Maurice Beatson, and Catriona McLeod, who also missed out on the three-day eventing team.

The two-man team will be named next week to join six eventers and New Zealand's first dressage Olympian, Kallista Field.


There is still a 50-50 chance that French and Australian scientists will have their ground-breaking tests for EPO ready for the Sydney Olympics, despite a hiccup in France.

The urine test should have been ready to use in the Tour de France starting tomorrow, but French scientists say they need another four months to perfect it.

Nevertheless, the International Olympic Committee intends to meet at the end of next month to review the tests and decide whether they can be used effectively for the Sydney Games.

Australians have been working against the clock on a blood test to detect the banned hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which when injected can improve an athlete's performance by 20 per cent.


New Zealand Olympic beach volleyball hopefuls Craig Seuseu and Tom Eade are hanging in for their square of sand on Bondi Beach in September.

After six events of 10 on the World Series circuit, the New Zealanders were ranked 23rd, and need to finish in the top 24 to make the Olympic cut. Their hopes took a bit of a dive yesterday when they failed to qualify for the latest event in Chicago.

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