JAMES Fair, Jo Leedham and Fiona McCann will soon be packing their bags for London after becoming the latest Chester athletes to be selected for the 2012 Olympics.
Fair, 31, was named in Great Britain’s men’s hockey squad yesterday while Leedham, 24, will be one of the leading lights in Team GB’s women’s basketball team.
Water polo player McCann, 25, said competing at the Olympics would be a ‘massive experience’ after her place was confirmed on Monday.
Gymnast Beth Tweddle, 27, is also close to having her spot at the Games rubber-stamped, with an official announcement due next Wednesday.
The quartet have just four weeks to wait until they begin competing against the world’s finest sportsmen and women at London 2012.
McCann, of Great Boughton, was informed via email that she had made the GB water polo team but had to keep the news to herself for a couple of days until it was made public on Monday afternoon.
She played in a test event at the Olympic Park’s water polo arena in May so already has an idea of what to expect in London later this summer.
“It will be such a massive experience,” she said. “We’ve got to be careful we don’t let everything get on top of us. But we’ll have the home crowd on our side. The amount of noise they made at the test event was mad!”
McCann started swimming with the City of Chester club and was persuaded to take up water polo at the age of 12 by her dad Brian, who used to play himself.
She proved to be a natural and has been with the GB squad since 2005, playing in the centre-back position where her main role is to tussle with the opposition’s forward in a part of the pool known as ‘the pit’.
She spends the majority of her time based in Manchester with the GB squad and also plays for Liverpool Water Polo Club.
McCann used to attend Christleton High School where her PE teacher was Sue Leedham, mother of fellow London-bound athlete Jo.
The 24-year-old, who was born in Chester and grew up in Little Sutton, now lives in Australia where she plays club basketball for the Bulleen Boomers.
Leedham said her Olympic selection was something she will ‘cherish forever’ and has been in fine recent form for the GB women’s team, topping the scoring charts with 19 points and an incredible 12 steals in an 81-57 victory over the Czech Republic in Prague last week.
Hockey star Fair, a former Deeside Ramblers player who hails from Pulford, is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world game.
After his selection was confirmed at a Press conference yesterday, he said: “I am really proud to be selected for Team GB, especially at home in front of a British crowd.
“After having the disappointment of being a travelling reserve for Beijing in 2008, I am hoping to put that behind me and perform to my best.”
Tweddle, of Bunbury, continued her Olympic build-up at the weekend by winning gold on the bars at the British Artistic Gymnastics Championships, held at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.
She decided to withdraw from the floor final in order to rest.
Local rowers Tom James, Chris Bartley, Vicky Thornley and Olivia Whitlam had their Olympic places confirmed earlier this month.