Britain target qualification double
May 23, 2012 18:30 pm
Great Britain's women's beach volleyball hopefuls believe they are closer than ever to securing two berths to this summer's Olympic Games after qualifying for next month's Continental Cup finals - where a ticket to London 2012 is the much-coveted prize at stake.
The two British teams of Denise Johns and Lucy Boulton and Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney secured their shot at glory after defeating Spain in a thrilling match-up in Sevres near Paris last weekend.
The British teams travel to Moscow for the final stage of the continental tournament from June 22-24, the winner of which will clinch a place for one two-woman team at Horse Guards Parade this summer. In the case of Great Britain, however, victory would see both teams qualify as they are already guaranteed one berth due to their host-nation status.
"We were really happy to bring back the cup and to take us into the next round, which is amazing," Mullin told Press Association Sport.
"We go to Moscow for the final in four weeks. If we win that then both teams are going to the Olympics. There's going to be good teams there, but it's not unrealistic for us to say we can go in and win it."
Johns and Boulton kicked off Saturday's final with a straight-sets win in the opener and although Spain rallied, back-to-back victories by Mullin and Dampney sealed a 3-2 win.
Johns added: "It wasn't really expected that GB would beat Spain, because right now they're 12th on the Olympic rankings, so it was a really big win and it's given us that confidence, knowing that we can do it as a team."
Although beach volleyball is played in teams of pairs, the Continental Cup is played as a Davis Cup-style tournament with national teams of two pairings.
The unique format calls for a strong bond between two teams who have for some time been vying for the one guaranteed Olympic berth - and Mullin is confident their rivalry will remain a productive, positive force.
"We are all part of the GB squad, we train together and we live together when we're on tour," she said.
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