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Hard work paying off as Scots weigh in . . .

Scotland will be "punching above its weight" at the Winter Olympics, with its athletes making up almost a third of the Great Britain team, officials have said.

A squad of 56, 18 of whom hail from Scotland, was named yesterday for the Games, which begin in the Russian city of Sochi, next month.

Curlers make up the bulk of Scottish competitors, with representation also in skiing, snowboarding, speed skating and bobsleigh.

GB management have set a minimum target of three medals at the Games, with both curling teams - made up entirely of Scots - among the favourites.

The women's 2013 curling world championship winners Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton, Anna Sloan and Lauren Gray were the first athletes to be named by Britain last year, quickly followed by the men's team of David Murdoch, Tom Brewster, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow and Greg Drummond, who took bronze at the same event.

A number of staff based at the Institute of Sport in Glasgow are also travelling to Russia to support the British team, with physiotherapists, doctors and a psychologist helping the athletes prepare for events.

Mike Whittingham, director of high performance at sportscotland, said: "I am immensely proud that so many Scots have been selected to represent Great Britain in Sochi. It is a significant achievement for a country with around one-twelfth of the British population to provide one-third of the GB Olympians.

"This hasn't happened by accident but because of investment by government and sportscotland in the development of sport at all levels - from grassroots to high performance. The fruits of that targeted investment are borne in announcements such as this."

Shona Robison, the sports minister, said: "Scotland continues to punch above its weight and the future of Scottish winter sports is in robust health. We have much to be proud of as a nation. The legacy of these Winter Games will inspire young people to take to the ice or snow, the first step to representing Scotland on the world stage."

Selected Scots Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Claire Hamilton, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray, David Murdoch, Tom Brewster, Scott Andrews, Greg Drummond, Michael Goodfellow (all curling); Elise Christie (short track speed skating); Andrew Musgrave, Andrew Young, Callum Smith, Posy Musgrave (all cross country ski); Ben Kilner (snowboard); Murray Buchan (freestyle ski); Stuart Benson (bobsleigh)

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