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London 2012: Poole volleyball stars ready for Olympic challenge
POOLE Olympians Dan Hunter and Lucy Wicks believe they can help build a future for volleyball in Great Britain.
The duo, both former stars at Poole-based Wessex Volleyball Club, were this morning named in the Great Britain indoor squad for London 2012.
Hunter is one of Great Britain’s finest back-court players and plies his trade in Holland for Landstede after progressing through the ranks at National League club Wessex, while Wicks, 30, plays professionally for Alemannia Aachen in the German Bundesliga.
The duo and their team-mates will become Great Britain’s first ever Olympic indoor volleyball players – with Wicks and the women’s team battling to the Games despite not receiving a penny in funding from the sport’s governing body since 2009.
Wicks, speaking to the Echo following the GB squad announcement in Sheffield this morning, said: “There were some tough decisions to be made by the governing body and there was no way they could keep us all happy. Having no funding was actually a positive in many ways because we have had to fight so hard to get here and we really came together. We are such a strong unit for that.”
Hunter, meanwhile, has targeted a quarter-final spot when the men’s team kick off their campaign against Bulgaria at Earls Court on July 29.
The 22-year-old told the Echo: “It’s been quite an intense situation to be in and, now the team is all official, it’s a massive relief and a real weight off our shoulders.
“Now, we can just get focused and look ahead to the Games themselves. If we perform well, we can reach the quarter-finals.
“But whatever we do will be the best for our sport in the Olympics because it’s our first time.
“For us, it’s important to provide a future for volleyball in this country. If we can do well in London, hopefully the authorities will give some support to the sport in the UK and we can get better and better ahead of Rio 2016 and the Games in 2020.”