PEOPLE are always sponsoring exotic animals, so how about adopting your very own Olympian?

The Great Britain Women’s Volleyball Olympic team experienced a bit of a bump in the road to 2012 glory when all their funding was cut.

But the 16 strong-squad, including two Poole girls and one from Lymington, are determined not to let a lack of money spoil their medal-winning hopes.

The team have been spending the week in Poole, training at Fitness First and running coaching sessions at 10 local schools supporting their Olympic dream.

Former Parkstone Grammar school pupil Lucy Wicks, 29, said: “Since the sports funding cuts we’re having to pay for our whole campaign off our own backs.

“From court hire to kit we’ve got to fund it all and we’ll be spending the summer living out of bags as we try to improve and get money together.

“It’s exciting and scary. We’ve got our work cut out doing all this on top but we’re really enjoying everything. It’s bringing our team closer together.”

The girls had hoped to play together internationally together in the run up to 2012, but have to split up during the August to May season.

They were reunited recently for a tour of Argentina.

Lucy, who’s joined a team in Germany, said: “It took a while to gel back together. Going away together would have been ideal because volleyball is quite an underdeveloped sport in this country.

“By playing matches week in, week out, we would have escalated and really been up there with the top teams in the world.

“This is Plan B but it’s going well.”

With Poole’s Victoria Palmer, 23, and 25-year-old Nichola Osborne, from Lymington, they are flying the flag for Dorset.

To sponsor or donate, visit