Place in the sun for Britain's beach volleyball players
Monday, 21 March 2011
March 21 - Britain will be competing in both men's and women's beach volleyball competitions at Horse Guards Parade during the London 2012 Olympic Games after being given the opportunity to utilise Host Nation Qualification Places.
The decision to permit the British Volleyball Federation to take up the place by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel which includes British Olympic Association (BOA) chief executive Andy Hunt, chair of the BOA Athletes' Commission Sarah Winckless and the BOA's Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward.
Hunt, who will be Team GB Chef de Mission at London 2012, 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."
Horse Guard's Parade, which situated in the heart of Westminster and built in 1745 to house Buckingham Palace's personal guards, will feature a temporary arena capable of hosting 15,000 spectators for the sport during the London 2012 Olympics while huge quantities of sand are to be brought in to create London's very own beach.
Britain's first and only Olympic beach volleyball appearance was in 1996, when the sport made its debut on the Olympic programme.
Audrey Cooper and Amanda Glover finished ninth.
Sir Clive, who will be Deputy Chef de Mission at London 2012, 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."
As previously revealed exclusively on insidethegames, a FIVB beach volleyball tournament at Horse Guards Parade from August 9 until 14, 2011 will act as a test event for the London 2012 beach volleyball competition.
The test event will be only for women, with the British women's team set to feature, and will replicate the exact formula to be used at the 2012 Olympics.
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, the British Volleyball Federation Performance Programme Manager, added: "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."
January 2011: Council planners give green light for Olympic beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade
December 2010: Exclusive - London 2012 beach volleyball test event confirmed at Horse Guard's Parade next August
October 2010: Centre Court-style venue for beach volleyball at London 2012