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Going to Beijing!

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Ben Pipes is the captain of the Great Britain men's volleyball team. He is providing regular posts for 606 as the team build towards competing at London 2012.

I found out recently that I've been selected to go to Beijing on the Olympic Ambition 2012 programme.

I can't wait! It's going to be absolutely amazing. The British Olympic Association are sending a group of people from the smaller sports to get a taste of the Olympics and I'm going with my team-mate Andrew Pink as well as our coaching team. We'll spend two days with the British team in the holding camp and then watch the volleyball at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

The GB volleyball team have never been involved in any big tournaments. The closest I've come, in terms of a multi-sport event, is the World Youth Games when I was 15. Even then, you were carted away to a sports hall and you never saw anyone else.

When we go to Beijing, we'll be kitted out and travelling with the team so we'll almost feel part of it. It will be a real eye-opener.

I've just had a very welcome two days off after finishing our European League games. To sum up, it was hard work! We set out to be competitive against these teams, who thought they were going to walk all over us, and I think we did that. You can see all the results here:

The highlight was definitely the round we played in Sheffield when we won two out of the three games, against Greece and Portugal. No one thought we would do that - not even our coach Harry Brokking! We found out afterwards he told the governing body that we might win a set in the whole league. We managed not just that but to win two games as well, so I think we can be quietly proud of what we achieved. It's not something we can be content with, but, although we stumbled a bit, we've come over a hurdle. There are a thousand more to go.

Next up for the British team is a series of away matches against Egypt. I'm hopeful we'll beat them.

Then I'm off to Spain. Today, I should be receiving my contract to play for Puerto Real, who are based in Cadiz in the south. It's the ideal place for me. They're an ambitious team, pushing for promotion to the top division in Spain, so they'll ask a lot of me. The weather might be a bit of a shock for my pasty white, northern skin! I'm really looking forward to it and I'll be keeping you up to date with how I get on when I'm out there - once I return from Beijing.

Ben Pipes was talking to Caroline Cheese.

Read Ben's earlier 606 posts:

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posted Jul 17, 2008

Good luck!! I hope you do well in Beijing. Come on Great Britain!

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comment by pmurf (U11518609)

posted Jul 30, 2008

Ben Pipes is a true British Hero - working his guts off for small reward and developing into a truly fine athelete and gentleman a credit to family friends and British Volleyball. So different to so many professional in the greedy non Olympic and Olympic sports/businesses.

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posted Aug 9, 2008

As someone who has been playing & refereeing volleyball for more than 30 years, it is great to see the sport moving forward in this way. There is a long way to go to 2012, and raising the profile of the game is an essential element in this process.
The improving performance on the international stage is a good omen, but needs more publicity by the BBC and others before the sport can start to be taken seriously by the largely indifferent british public.

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posted Aug 14, 2008

Some coverage of the volleyball may just get folks in the UK interested a little more, so far it's been almost zero. I realise how hard all the UK volleyball people are working towards 2012 and it is a pity our National Broadcaster is not giving a little more support.

Volleyball really is the sport for schools, boys and girls can play from the ages of 10, it's cheap to play, needs little equipment and provides all round exercise.

Come on BBC, lets see a little more of Volleyball from China.

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posted Aug 20, 2008

When I went to Brighton/UK in 1998 in order to study English at EF School I found a lot of difficulties to look for a place to play volleyball there. I went to the school´ staff and they told me that there were no places around Brighton to play high level volleyball. As a university volleyball champion in São Paulo I pleased myself by playing football with school mates on hyde park in Brighton. Now, after reading this news it seems that volleyball has its fans in England. Not only football, cricket, golf, boxe, etc.. Will volleyball catch on in England?
It has to because you´re going to host the next Olympics!!!!
You have to send your boys and girls to other countries for them to take part in high level competitions and you must have more places to practice volleyball In England. It´s a thrilling sport. There is no ball lost! Get it up in the air and spike it!!!!!!!!!
Marcos Garcia
São Paulo - Brazil

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