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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 18:59 GMT

GB curling skip dropped

Britain's Olympic men's curling team skip Hammy McMillan has been dropped from the team after disappointing Salt Lake City performances.

A statement issued by Team McMillan disclosed that the side for the forthcoming Scottish Championships will be skipped by Warwick Smith.

Smith replaced McMillan as skip during the Winter Olympics, when McMillan decided to drop himself from the team after poor form in the opening three matches.

Accompanying Smith at the Scottish event will be Norman Brown, Ewan MacDonald and Peter Loudon, with a fifth place still to be decided.

An angry McMillan admitted to BBC Scotland that he had a reputation for being the "hard man of the ice" and claimed that he had been sacked for being too demanding of his team.

He accused his former team-mates of having short memories.

"Our decision to part company should in no way be taken as a criticism of Hammy's skills"
Team McMillan statement

McMillan has scaled the heights of curling over his 15 years in the Scottish and British teams.

He won the world title in 1999 and also has five European medals.

But Team McMillan have not won an international medal for nearly three years and recently finished fifth in the European Championships.

The statement goes on: "We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the enormous contribution by Hammy McMillan.

"He is a fine player and our decision to part company should in no way be taken as a criticism of his skills."

Loudon did not wish to expand on their reasons, only to say that it had been a majority decision.

"He is a legend in the game, but we wanted to move in a different direction," he told BBC Scotland.

The Scottish Championships run from 5-10 March at the Braehead Ice Arena.

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