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belfield or bust for london bid

HOCKEY: Because of the men's Olympic qualifier starting at Belfield on March 10, no club hockey will take place that weekend to ensure the best possible turnout in support for the Irish team.

Ireland open their campaign with a match against Russia on March 10. They then play Ukraine a day later, and, after a day's rest, face Korea on March 13. They play Malaysia in the final round of pool matches on March 17 -- St Patrick's Day. Finals and crossover matches take place on March 18. Details of ticket sales at www.hockey.ie.

SWIMMING: Want to take up swimming in the new year? Atlantis Swimming Club, based at the Markiewicz Swimming Pool in Dublin city centre, already has an active and enthusiastic membership that competes at junior, senior and national levels.

Star of the club is Botonde Solmossy, the current Irish masters 50m freestyle champion. Training takes place six days a week under the supervision of head coach Nicky Burke and new members are always welcome.

Visit www.atlantissc.org or email info@atlantissc.org.

CANOEING: With Olympic qualification in mind, canoeist Jenny Egan returns to Florida for another few months of training early in the new year.

Egan, from the Salmon Leap club in Leixlip, has competed for Ireland on sprint and marathon racing circuits, with her best result coming at the World Sprint Cup at Liberec, Czech Republic, last spring, where she finished second in the 5000m.

With this distance not part of the Olympic programme, Egan is now concentrating on improving her times in the 500m and 200m sprint distances, with the final qualification tournaments taking place in Poznan, Poland, next April. Just 15 places are on offer in the women's K1 class.

Last August, Egan produced a best-ever result for Ireland when she finished 18th in the 500m at the Canoe Slalom World Championships in Hungary, setting a new Irish record of 1 minute 52.768 seconds along the way.

Also likely to compete in a K2 boat are Egan's brother, Peter, and Neil Fleming of Celbridge Paddlers, winners of the K2 class at the Great Outdoors Liffey Descent this year. They will compete in the 200m and 1000m Olympic distance races for men.

BADMINTON: After qualifying for next year's Olympics, badminton player Chloe Magee is enjoying a well-earned rest over the holiday period.

Magee qualified for her second Olympic Games when she made the quarter-finals of the women's singles at the Yonex Irish Open in Lisburn a few weeks ago.

There is still an outside chance she may also qualify for the mixed doubles with brother Sam.

"We are first reserves at the moment, but to qualify we really need to produce good results at two or three tournaments. For the moment, I'm concentrating on training for the singles, so if the mixed happens, it happens," says Magee.

She plays her first tournament of 2012 at the end of January.

TRIATHLON: After the usual winter break, multi-sports action resumes with a number of duathlons all over the country in the month of January.

In the Leinster area, Punchestown is the venue on January 22 for the first in the 2012 Naas Duathlon series; races also take place on February 19 and March 25. On February 3, the first in the Fingal Series is set to take place at Ring Commons in north Co Dublin, with further rounds on March 3 and March 31.

Details at www.irishtriathlon.com.