Volleyball pair Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney can 'set the standard' for future Team GB competitors
Friday 20 July 2012
Shauna Mullin believes both she and Team GB team-mate Zara Dampney can take advantage of playing with the pressure off when they kick off their Olympic beach volleyball campaign in the heart of London next week.
With just days until the start of the event on Horse Guards Parade - which features 48 teams across the men's and women's competitions playing across 13 days - tension would ordinarily be high in the ranks of the host nation's representatives.
Yet it is no secret that Britain's past form in Olympic beach volleyball tournaments is far from stellar - with players from these shores making just one previous appearance, back in Atlanta in 1996 on the sport's maiden outing at the Games.
And with no recent yardstick against which to be judged, Mullin is confident conditions are perfect for the British duo to "set the standard" for future Olympic appearances.
"Beach volleyball in the UK is not very well known, not very big," Mullin told Press Association Sport. "We've not had a team at the Olympics since 1996, so that pressure that other sports might be feeling, we don't really feel - in terms of having an Olympic reputation, or the need to match previous Olympic results.
"We're in a really good place because we're here to set the reputation; we're here to set the standard for British beach volleyball at Olympic level."
Mullin insists, however, that there is no danger of complacency creeping in, with their committed camp - headed up by coach Morph Bowes - doing everything they can to ensure the best possible result at the 15,000-capacity Horse Guards Parade venue.
"In terms of pressure to get a certain result, I don't think we have that," she said. "But for us - between us and in our team - the pressure to perform at the level we know we can is what we are feeling.
"We've been working towards this for a long time. Now that we're here we need to embrace it, we need to be comfortable with it and just be ready to get on the sand, have a good time and perform."
Dampney, meanwhile, reckons she and Mullin can make London 2012 just the start of their Olympic journey, and is optimistic their moment in the spotlight will lead on to sealing a place on merit at the Rio Games in 2016.
"In terms of beach volleyball, Shauna and I are still quite young, quite inexperienced in terms of how long we've been playing," she said.
"There's definitely another Olympics in us and we want to get as much as we can from this experience to be able to build towards 2016 and hopefully put beach volleyball on the map in the UK."
Dampney and Mullin last night learned they have been drawn in Pool F for the opening phase of the Olympic tournament, alongside Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti of Italy, Russia's Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova, and Marie-Andree Lessard and Annie Martin of Canada.
In the men's draw, Team GB duo John Garcia-Thompson and Steven Grotowski will also contest Pool F, together with Brazil's Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos, Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr of Norway, and Canada's Josh Binstock and Martin Reader.
West Ham vs Arsenal match report: Sam Allardyce fumes at referee as Arsenal push on towards top four
Tottenham vs Manchester United match report: Hugo Lloris blocks Manchester United from putting pressure on Premier League title rivals
Liverpool vs Swansea preview: 'Jonjo Shelvey is lazy, he needs to wise up,' says Garry Monk
Arsenal transfer news: William Carvalho to be subject of £20m bid
West Ham 1 Arsenal 2 player ratings: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? Andy Carroll? Alexis Sanchez? Who was the star man?
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk