|BOA Announce GB Squads for Olympics|
|Published: 29 Jun 2012|
With just four weeks until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced today the 24 players who will represent Team GB in both the men’s and women’s indoor volleyball events and unfortunately Northern Ireland's Stacey O'Connor narrowly missed out on selection.
Team GB have taken up the opportunity to use home-nation places to enter both a men’s and women’s team for volleyball, which will take place at Earl’s Court in London this summer. British Volleyball has made a steady rise since 2006 – including some notable results at the test event last year – and London 2012 will be the first time that Team GB will be represented at the Olympic Games.
The selected athletes are (age; position; hometown; current club):
All of the players have competed in mainland Europe and America, where the sport enjoys a very strong level of interest. By honing their abilities in some of the most competitive leagues across the globe, the volleyball athletes are well prepared to put in credible performances at home in London and lay the foundations for future generations of British volleyball players.
The men’s team, which will be captained by 25-year-old Ben Pipes, achieved remarkable results by beating Mexico and Egypt at the 2011 test event which was also hosted by Earl’s Court. They will face stern opposition at the Games, as they have been pooled with Bulgaria, Australia, Italy, Poland and Argentina – but their clear progression recently means they should be able provide some thrilling drama for the home crowd by challenging some of the world’s finest opposition.
Glaswegian Lynne Beattie will captain the women’s team, and they will be confident at their prospects of picking up Olympic victories after some noteworthy results recently, including beating a representative USA squad last year in Sheffield. Like their male counterparts, they will also be looking to gain positive results against some of the strongest volleyball nations, having been grouped alongside Russia, Algeria, Italy, Dominican Republic and Japan.
The two teams share a full range of experience. Jason Haldane – who will turn 41 four days before the Opening Ceremony – is the veteran of the squad, whereas 18-year-old Savanah Leaf is at the beginning of her international volleyball career.
Twelve nations will compete in each of the men’s and the women’s events. The entrants are divided into two pools of six, who will compete in a round-robin format. The top four nations from each group progress to the quarter-final, where the competition becomes straight knock-out. The losers of the two semi-finals play off for bronze, while the winners contest the gold-medal fixture.
Both the British men’s and women’s teams will be targeting progression to the knock-out stage, as well as providing memorable moments for the home crowd as they look to lay the foundations for a successful future for volleyball in Britain.
The announcement was made today at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, where British Volleyball is based.
The addition of the indoor volleyball players brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 393 across 30 sport disciplines: archery, athletics – marathon, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, cycling, diving, equestrian – dressage, equestrian – eventing, fencing, football – women, handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, synchronised swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball – indoor, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome both the men’s and women’s volleyball squads into Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“All of these athletes have worked tremendously hard to make this a possibility and we’re confident that we have two squads ready to put on a great display and give a fantastic account of themselves in London. The volleyball players and everyone involved have had to make huge sacrifices to make this a possibility so we all share in their excitement now that the Olympics Games are less than a month away and their selection is made official.
“Most importantly, the home Games should act as a springboard for the sport in Britain and allow Team GB to build for the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and beyond. It is a superb opportunity to showcase volleyball in this country and I hope that these players can inspire many more youngsters to get involved in the sport and create a lasting legacy from London 2012.”
Richard Callicott, President of the British Volleyball Federation, said:
“I am delighted that after all this time British Volleyball teams are about to play in their first Olympic Games. It has a been a very challenging period for the players, coaches, administrators and for the British Volleyball Federation as a whole but at last all that worry, energy and work is about to come to fruition. The BVF will be represented in both men and women in the Olympic Games and that is a credit to all concerned for their dedication and commitment.
“At last Great Britain and the general public will be able to see why volleyball is one of the biggest sports in the world and why it is so popular and I am know that our players will rise to the biggest sporting challenge of their lives.”
Ben Pipes, Men’s captain, said:
“The first thing I want to do is congratulate all of those who have made the final selection; both Men and Women's athletes. Today's announcement is a massive milestone in the British Volleyball journey. So to find yourself among the final 12 names is such a huge honour and privilege. It is important to enjoy this moment and tonight I think everyone in the team will find it hard not to dream of walking out onto the Olympic court to bathe in the screams of 15,000 British fans in just four weeks’ time!
“However it is important not to forget that it is just a moment, we cannot afford to detract from continuing to forge our path to London. We are in unchartered territory and need to keep pushing ourselves and each other to deliver a performance worthy of the names you do not see on the list. Worthy of the unwavering support of our families, friends and loved ones. A performance worthy of marking the start of a long, rich British Volleyball legacy. We are truly privileged!”
Lynne Beattie, Women’s captain, said:
“I am absolutely delighted to be named in the team of 12 as part of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games. I feel honoured to be a part of this amazing team of players and staff who have all been working so hard for the last five years in order to be where we are today, on the brink of our first Olympic Games. It is an exciting time not only for us as a team, but for volleyball as a sport, as we look forward to competing in just four weeks’ time. We look forward to performing at Earls Court Arena in front of a home crowd and doing the British public proud!”