With just 25 days until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced today the pair of athletes who will represent Team GB in the women’s beach volleyball event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The selected athletes are:
Zara Dampney (Dorset)
Shauna Mullin (Edinburgh)
The women’s pairing of Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin become the 398th and 399th athletes to be selected to Team GB for the London Olympics.
The London Olympics will be the first time that Team GB has been represented in beach volleyball since the 1996 Games in Atlanta, when the sport joined the Olympic programme.
Mullin and Dampney have competed together internationally since 2009 and have achieved some notable results en route to earning their berth in Team GB, including a runners-up position in the CEV Continental Cup tournament last June in the Ukrainian town of Ilyichevsk, before a fifth-placed finish at the FIVB Challenger competition held in London last August. The duo are currently ranked at 37th in the world and number one in Britain.
Team GB has taken the opportunity to use the home-nation place available to enter a women’s pair for beach volleyball, which will take place on Horse Guards Parade in London. Team GB last entered a female pair when the sport was introduced at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The pair included Audrey Cooper, who is now Head Coach of the indoor women’s volleyball squad who were selected to Team GB last Friday.
The British Volleyball Federation (BVF) was founded as recently as 2006 but the rise in popularity of beach volleyball in the UK has mirrored a steady climb up the world rankings for the Team GB pair.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“We are very pleased to welcome the first beach volleyball players to represent Team GB since the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Beach volleyball is a fast, skilful and exciting sport and London 2012 presents a fantastic opportunity for the sport to showcase itself to the UK audience and encourage many new participants to try and sport and provide the next generation of British beach volleyball players.
“We witnessed at the Test Event last summer the huge positive impact that an enthusiastic and vocal support can have on our athletes’ performances and I’m sure the players selected today will respond to the encouragement they will receive on Horse Guards Parade again this summer by delivering competitive matches against the very best beach volleyball teams in the world.”
Richard Callicott, President of British Volleyball said:
“I am delighted that we have all three disciplines represented for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I commend the Coaches, players and staff for their hard work and commitment, their enthusiasm is inspirational to everyone involved in Volleyball in all its disciplines of Volleyball, Beach Volleyball and Sitting Volleyball. I congratulate both players on their selection and wish them every good fortune in the Games.”
Kenny Barton Performance Programme Manager, British Volleyball said:
“Criss-crossing the globe over the past 5 years, our players and staff have demonstrated a focused resilience, fighting, week in week out on the FIVB World Beach tour, learning and re-learning ways to take on the best beach players in the world to earn their right to compete on the Horse Guards Parade Olympic sand. I congratulate the selected players and honour all other British pairs who have done everything they could to maintain a great challenge to ensure the competition for selection to the home nation place went right to the wire. I hope the British public will get right behind our athletes, and I have no doubt that they will enjoy the physicality, the fun, and vibrancy of our great sport.
Shauna Mullin said:
“Competing at the Olympics has always been a dream of mine and at the end of July my dreams are coming true. Being selected to represent Team GB and be part of what is going to be the best Olympics ever is a huge honour.”
Zara Dampney said:
"I am extremely excited to represent Team GB at the Olympics and I'm looking forward to the experiences and challenges that lie ahead, especially in front of our home crowd."