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Kiwi hockey player's Olympic dream hit by appendicitis

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Hilton, a former junior international, was hoping to make an impression on the selectors for a spot in the London Games-bound New Zealand squad during the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here, but the operation meant he will now have to wait for another opportunity.

The 23-year-old player is being replaced in the New Zealand squad by Shay Neal, who is flying into Malaysia, but will only join the squad after their first outing against India.

Hilton, who was a member of the New Zealand squad that finished fourth in the 2009 Junior World Cup, said he was feeling pain in his stomach over the past few days, but overlooked it as several other players were complaining of bugs.

"But the pain got worse and I was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that I had appendicitis and required surgery," Hilton was quoted as saying by the tournament organisers after the surgery was performed.

"This is a big blow as this could well be my final chance to prove my worth for inclusion into the Olympics team," said Hilton.

"I should be out of the hospital in a day, but cannot train or play for a week."


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