Johnson blow for Aussies

Australians forced into late change with defender injured.

Last Updated: 05/08/08 7:59pm

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Johnson: Injury blow

Johnson: Injury blow

Australia's women have suffered a pre-Olympic blow with the news that defender Fiona Johnson will miss the hockey tournament with a hamstring injury.

Johnson picked up a torn hamstring during a practice game against Argentina on Saturday, and she was taken away for tests on the severity of the problem.

It has now been confirmed that Johnson will not be fit enough to take part in the Olympic tournament - thereby missing her first taste of Games action.

Team officials with the Australians have now asked the International Olympic Council for permission to replace Johnson in their 16-player Olympic squad.

Johnson will remain in Beijing with the team but with her unable to play, Western Australian Shelly Liddelow is due to be called-up into the squad.

Such a late switch of personnel is a problem the Australians could do without, with the tournament starting on Sunday, as they plot their campaign aimed at reclaiming gold again

Australia are three-time Olympic champions and won in both 1996 and 2000, but could only finish down in fifth place in Athens four years ago.

The top-ranked Dutch await in a tough group, alongside hosts China, Spain, South Korea and South Africa.

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