Day 9 Media

Great Britain’s men suffered another straight-sets defeat in the sitting volleyball competition last night, this time against Brazil.

And the best the hosts can now hope for at these Paralympic Games is a seventh-place finish in the 10-team tournament.

Having put up a fight in their defeat to reigning champions Iran on Wednesday, Britain struggled to match that level of energy in front of a packed crowd at the ExCeL, losing 25-20, 25-16, 25-15.

Great Britain, who have a single group win against Morocco to their credit, are back in action today against China at 4pm in a match to decided 7th and 8th place.

Captain Rob Richardson, a Londoner, said: “We put a lot into the game against Iran, but we can’t put this performance down to tiredness. We didn’t play to our capabilities.

“This was a match we felt we could get a good result. China is a must-win for us so we need to bounce back and fight for every point.”

“It didn’t go very well and it was a bad day at the office,” admitted veteran Richard Dobell.

“It was hard to contain Brazil’s power. When we got our game going it was good, but it was too late.”

Former soldier Charlie Walker struggled to say exactly where Great Britain are going wrong.

“We showed the fight again and we won some really good points but it is stringing them together,” he said.

“It’s hard to put your finger on it; everyone gets a bit tight, the swing is not as free, we’re not finding the gaps in the block and everyone gets a bit tense.

“We’ll start beating these guys one of these days. I just hope it is sooner rather than later.”

Asked what GB need to do in the build-up for the Rio 2016 Games, Dobell added: “It’s relatively simple – we need to win more matches.

We’ve only been playing together for around four or five years. What’s good about our programme is that the coaching is good and the funding is there. It’s good quality volleyball.

“Volleyball England are setting up clubs around the country and the number of clubs developing is increasing. It’s about working with those clubs to find appropriately qualified athletes to play in the team.”

Great-Britain-take-on-Japan-in-their-las
Great Britain take on Japan in their last women’s Sitting Volleyball match of London 2012
Andrea Green (5) and Emma Wiggs (6) of Great Britain work together to block a shot during the women’s Sitting Volleyball 7-8 Clasification match against Japan. http://www.london2012.com

Screen-Shot-2012-09-10-at-12.38.44-300x1

As with the match against Paralympic champions Iran, they looked the better side for periods, and could easily have taken third set, which was level at 22-22 before the Chinese scored three quick points to seal victory.

GB secured victory over Morocco in the group stages, to secure a quarter-final place.

“We’ve come a long way – two years ago we were losing to Morocco and they have ended up last in the tournament,” said James Roberts, who switched to Sitting Volleyball from Rowing after the Beijing Paralympics because of disability classification changes.

“It’s been great to have the home support. I had no idea we would have this kind of support day-in and day-out and we’re truly grateful for that,” added Roberts, from Prestatyn.

Both GB’s Sitting Volleyball teams were disbanded in 1991 and only reinstated after London won the bid to host the 2012 Games and Captain Rob Richardson said: “Finishing eight was a massive achievement.

“We targeted the Morocco match – as a team they are ranked above us but we thought we had the game to beat them and we won that, which was great.

“We got ourselves into the quarter-finals and I think we played a superb game against Iran.

Londoner Richardson added: “Maybe we were a little bit greedy in that we wanted to beat Brazil or one of those top-ranked teams. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that but I have no doubt we will be doing that in months to come, not years to come.

“We’ve got people playing in our team who have only been playing for three years whereas China have got people who’ve been playing 15 or 20 years and that’s the same for every other team out there.

“So what we’ve done in a short space of time is quite amazing really.”

  • Sitting Volleyball – Women’s Victory Ceremony – London 2012 Paralympic Games. watch on ParalympicTV
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