The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that Great Britain will have the opportunity to utilise Host Nation Qualification Places to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games in both men’s and women’s beach volleyball.
The decision to permit the British Volleyball Federation, which is the National Governing Body for volleyball in Great Britain, to utilise the Host Nation Qualification Places was made by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel, which among others includes Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt; the Chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless; and the BOA’s Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward.
The decision was made following a comprehensive consultation with the British Volleyball Federation. The utilisation of the Host Nation Places is subject to the GB players meeting the National Governing Body’s Olympic selection criteria, which will be agreed with the BOA Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel in the coming months.
BOA Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“It is encouraging that Britain’s beach volleyball players are within reach of having the opportunity to represent Team GB in the Olympic Games for the first time since it was introduced to the Olympic sport programme in Atlanta in 1996.
“The National Governing Body, British Volleyball, has made significant progress since its formation in 2006 and has nurtured a number of players to perform consistently at world class level. The women’s programme in particular has made good strides, with the top two pairs both ranking in the world top-50 in 2010.
“The athletes will now focus on competing to the best of their ability over the coming months in order to meet their Olympic selection criteria and achieve our shared ambition of British players on the court in both men’s and women’s competitions in London 2012.
“Beach Volleyball was one of the most watched events of the last Olympic Games in Beijing and the iconic location of the London 2012 competition at Horse Guards Parade will ensure a thrilling event which we hope will inspire a new generation of participants to try the sport across the UK.”
BOA Director of Sport and Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission Clive Woodward said:
“Beach Volleyball is a fast, tactical and dynamic sport and we are very pleased that Britain’s best players now have the opportunity to earn their place and showcase their talent on the biggest stage of all at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“British Volleyball has demonstrated to us their plans to use the London 2012 Olympics as a springboard for the long term future development of the sport in the UK and there will be no better opportunity to create a step change in participation than London 2012.
“It would be a very special moment to see the Union Flag’s being waved in support of British athletes as they walk onto the sand on Horse Guards Parade, within eyesight of some of London’s most iconic landmarks.”
Richard Callicott, President of the British Volleyball Federation said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that the BOA has seen fit to demonstrate their confidence in our players who have given their all to compete on the World Beach Tour. Confirmation that we have the home nation places should they be required will give all our athletes a huge lift.”
Kenny Barton, British Volleyball Federation Performance Programme Manager said:
“The BOA are to be congratulated for implementing their challenging process with all Olympic sports to prove their credibility and legacy plans. This attention to detail and scrutiny will ensure great performances in the Olympic environment.
“The news that the BOA has confirmed that beach volleyball has the opportunity take up the home nation places for one men’s team and one women’s team is an important milestone which will ensure that all GB athletes will redouble their efforts to be the top performing teams in order to have a chance of being selected for the home nation places.
“Since the programme began over four years ago our staff and athletes have been exemplary in their dedication to the pursuit of excellence and will be continuing their bid to qualify for the Games in their own right by picking up enough Olympic ranking points from at least 12 International events prior to London 2012.”
GB Beach Volleyball players Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney said:
"We're delighted to hear that a GB women's team is now guaranteed the opportunity to utilise a host nation place at the London Olympics. We have worked so hard, for so long, to represent our country in Horse Guards Parade, it is the greatest incentive we could possibly have for the coming season."
GB Beach Volleyball players Denise Johns and Lucy Boulton said:
"It is fantastic news that the British Olympic Association has recognised our potential to achieve our very best at London 2012. But we haven't finished yet. Our dream is to vindicate the incredibly hard work we have been doing and make sure not just one but both teams play in London."