Team GB volleyball and beach volleyball players came together yesterday to hail the impact of their sport at the London 2012 Olympics. And the unanimous verdict was: “This is just the start – now we have to build on our success.”
Indoor players Ben Pipes, Dami Bakare and Lynne Beattie were joined by beach volleyball’s Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin in declaring the London Games a massive boost for both codes of the sport. As the medal matches loom in London – sadly without involvement from the British players – they all declared that results off the court were very encouraging. And with initiatives in place to build on the legacy of the Olympics, the growing popularity of volleyball looks assured.
Team GB’s beach volleyball Olympian Zara Dampney said: “The Games have been a massive success and volleyball has had a better response than we ever thought possible. We’ve had such great feedback and so many children are wanting to take up beach volleyball. “Our job is to inspire children to play. With the the courts that are now going to be built we are going to try to get as many youngsters as possible to play. The Olympics has showcased just what a good sport this is.”
Team GB’s men’s indoor captain, Ben Pipes, said reaction via emails and social media indicated the Games had been an overwhelming success for the sport. “You can’t leave here [London] without regarding it as a huge suceess,” he said. “The next big thing is how we deal with the legacy issue. We’ve captured the imagination of people who have fallen in love with the sport.”
Indoor women’s player Lynne Beattie said the aim of the squad had been to inspire others to take up the game. “We’ve done that, I’m sure,” she added, “and the Olympics has been a launch pad for our sport.”
Bakare said: “The whole Olympic experience has been great and people have loved the atmosphere and ambience. But the Olympics is not the end, it is just the beginning. Now we have to continue the good work.”
Beach volleyball’s Shauna Mullin was staggered by the public’s backing; “Playing in front of 15,000 people in Horse Guards Parade was phenomenal. it has to be a springboard to get the sport into the British psyche and the British way of life.”
The National Governing body, Volleyball in Scotland, aims to deliver a sustained legacy from the Games for both indoor and beach volleyball.
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