Beattie thrilled with historic triumph
July 31, 2012 08:51 am
Six years of sacrifices were validated at Earls Court early on Tuesday morning when Grace Carter's block earned Great Britain's women volleyballers the nation's first-ever Olympic victory.
They came from 1-0 and 2-1 behind to secure the most thrilling of five-set wins against Algeria, with the clock showing 12.37am when the final point was registered. That the win came so dramatically and so late did not matter. The fact that it came at all was reward enough for everything coach Audrey Cooper and her players have given up since they formed as a squad in 2006.
"Our families have been a huge part of it. There have been so many highs and lows over the last six years of our journey, they have been there to back us up when times have been tough. To get a win is fantastic and for everyone," said captain Lynne Beattie.
Jobs were quit and houses were sold to allow them to relocate on a permanent basis to Sheffield, but even then the road was not clear, with the players eventually forced to pay for their own training programme after their funding was slashed entirely.
As a result, it was of little surprise that after their golden moment, the players celebrated for longer than is normal, draping themselves in Union Jack flags and embracing their watching families.
"I feel absolutely amazing," Beattie continued. "To get a win at the Olympic games, from where this team has come from - we can be very proud of the result. Algeria came out fighting, but we showed a lot of character and resilience to come back and to win a fifth set at the Olympics is fantastic."
One thing Beattie and her team-mates have looked to do since they came together in 2006 has been to leave a legacy.
Although they are far from done with the game internationally - at 26 Beattie is one of a number of players in her prime - they have long held a desire to get more people playing a sport that, outside of Britain, is the world's most participated in.
The chances of that happening could well be high in the wake of what was a memorable night at Earls Court. The match was broadcast on both national television and radio and, although all seats were not taken when the game ended, the reception received was one of people who had enjoyed what they had seen.
"We wanted success on the court but another one of our aims was to inspire a nation and get people to take up the sport because it is a fantastic sport, and I hope that five-setter has shown people that," Beattie added.
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