Bakare hoping to make mark for GB

19 April 2012 / 15:58

Great Britain's men will return to their Sheffield training base on Monday, with star outside Dami Bakare hoping to build on his stunning summer of last year.

The 23-year-old Londoner is back on home soil after a domestic season with Belgian side VC Argex Duvel Puurs and, on Monday, will join up with coach Harry Brokking and his team-mates to start the preparations for the London Games.

That build-up started six years ago when the British programme was resumed with the Olympics in mind, with the squad surviving a number of funding cuts to remain intact.

The sacrifices made bore fruit last summer in the shape of an impressive showing at the London Prepares test event at Earls Court, with Bakare arguably the player of the tournament.

His statistics held their own with the American and Brazilian players - the benchmark in the men's game - and much is expected of him this summer.

The player himself, though, still cannot believe how last year unfolded, especially as he was not expected to be a regular in the side, with his place only secured after Brokking opted to choose him ahead of veteran superstar Jason Haldane.

"I didn't expect things to turn out the way they did for me last summer," he said. "But I am in a team that I will always fight for because of how committed I am to them, and that helps you forget about the worries of everything else.

"Jason Haldane could easily have been on the team but for Harry to pick me, which he didn't need to do, was a great confidence boost for me."

Bakare was speaking at the launch of the London Youth Games, an event close to his heart after he launched his volleyball career at the very same tournament.

"It's been a terrific opportunity to see some kids play in Barking and Dagenham," he said. "I am trying to encourage them to get involved. The Youth Games are a brilliant idea, something I owe a lot to as it's how I started."