GB women's volleyball exit to cheers
August 5, 2012 20:46 pm
Great Britain's women said an emotional goodbye to the Olympic volleyball competition on Sunday but were sent on their way with words of comfort by the game's governing body.
Their qualification hopes were already over despite a 19-25 14-25 12-25 defeat to Japan, but that did not stop tears being shed when the final score was recorded.
It marked the end of a heart-warming story for Audrey Cooper's squad who have endured a long journey to the capital but managed to achieve their goal of gaining a win.
They beat Algeria in a memorable post-midnight five-setter on Monday and, with pre-Games questions asked about legacy, FIVB president Jizhong Wei was keen to assure them they have more than exceeded expectations.
Midway through Cooper and captain Lynne Beattie's post-match press conference he stood up to say: "You are a very young team and you have shown that you can offer a legacy. You have given the world a message that Great Britain are here to stay.
"You have improved every day and I know that you will inspire a generation."
Wei's address moved Beattie to tears, while the normally ice-cool Cooper was also touched by his comments.
She cannot afford to dwell on them for too long, though, as she has to quickly turn her attentions to a week on Monday when she takes her squad for a training camp in Switzerland.
They are preparing for European League qualifiers - a tournament Cooper has long rated as more important than the Olympics - but she does at least want her players to enjoy some rest before then.
"We have a week off now and I want the players to have a bit of a rest," she said. "Today was not to be. We ran out of steam. We need time to switch off but then we prepare for the Europeans. What we have done is achieve what we wanted to which was win a game."
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