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Tears as GB's volleyball adventure ends

August 6, 2012 20:20 pm

There were few dry eyes in the Great Britain men's volleyball camp as they began to plot their journey home from the Olympics.

After a largely self-funded four year journey to London, there was always going to be a groundswell of feeling when it was over, regardless of how well they had done. Captain Ben Pipes was the most inconsolable after their 3-0 loss to Argentina, breaking down in the press mixed zone having fronted the team for five years.

"They are tired, five matches in a row, on their toes and emotionally they are flat," Harry Brokking said of his battle-weary players. "You can try to change them and push them but the whole team was a little flat. It's been heavy to play those matches and now they are really tired."

In truth, Britain have been punching above their weight ever since they formed an Olympic-focused programme six years ago. With no heritage of the sport in Great Britain and, with no domestic league to speak of, the challenge was always tough.

Players took themselves away from families and jobs to play overseas on minimum-wage contracts in order to hone their skills, with London often the only thing keeping them on track.

"There is nothing to say. They have been playing volleyball at a high level," Brokking added. "My team was playing high-level teams and we are not used to it. But I'm sure that if the programme gets the chance to develop and get the money to compete more against these teams, they will learn how to do it.

"This is their first big tournament and a lot of emotional strength is going out of their body every time. A lot is happening around them, they were empty and I cannot blame them."

Gently-spoken Scot Chris Lamont, who met and spoke with the Queen last week, is preparing to call time on his international career.

He was also in tears as the end, and told Press Association Sport: "It's disappointing, everyone has been supportive of us and said how fantastic an inspiration we've been but for me, I wish I could believe them. I feel numb, like I've let myself and everyone down. I'm annoyed we never showed what we can do. We didn't want to leave with regrets, but we do.

"I'm numb, you don't realise it until later. Next week when I'm sitting in the house I will wish I could come back. I can't believe it's over after all that work. It's gone so quickly. I don't think I will be back. It's time for someone else to have a go."

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