Daunting prospect for handball skipper

23 July 2012 / 19:36

Great Britain women's handball captain Lynn McCafferty expects her side to be able to cope with the pressure of the big occasion as they prepare for their maiden Olympics bow.

GB, who were only formed in 2006 after London was awarded the Games, are still a developing side and have been playing their home games at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in front of crowds reaching just the low hundreds.

But they will be thrust into the limelight when they take on Montenegro in the Copper Box on Saturday in front of a 7,000 crowd and McCafferty is confident her young team-mates will adapt, having had a taste of it during the test event in November, where they pulled off their biggest ever result by beating African champions Angola.

"I'm hoping that we are used to the Copper Box because it's our home ground but it will probably be 10 times better than the test event," she told Press Association Sport.

"We know there will be more people there and that's something we haven't experienced before, but that will add to our performance because a lot of the girls relish it and that will rub off on the rest of us. We just can't wait for the first game, we know so many people will come to watch us and that is such an honour for us, it's really exciting.

"It will be daunting, but we won't let it affect our performance, we really have to focus on the match, there will be time afterwards to take in the surroundings and atmosphere, but we're professional athletes and we have to focus on our game."

The progress Team GB have made over the last few years is staggering considering the lack of players, facilities and money at their disposal, with that win against Angola a landmark result.

But with medal contenders Montenegro and Russia in their group, the 33-year-old Scot is realistic about the expectations of the next fortnight, though remains excited at the same time.

"It's about us coming to the games and being competitive and putting on our best performance to date," she added.

"We have had lots of ups and downs over the six years, we have played fantastic and then rubbish but I am certain we will play every game to the best of our ability and then we will see what happens after that. It's up to us to prove that we have worked hard enough to deserve to be here."