BPA endorse host country slots for Goalball and women's Sitting Volleyball at London 2012
about a year ago
With 168 days to go before the London Paralympic Games, the British Paralympic Association today announced that, after a thorough review, it would endorse the host country slots for the men’s and women’s Goalball teams and the women’s Sitting Volleyball squad.
The announcements follow a day of detailed discussion and presentation from both sports at the BPA’s London headquarters, the end of a process put in place in November when the BPA delayed the decision relating to acceptance of the slots to give both sports time to progress further towards demonstrating credible performance.
The outcome of the review means that ParalympicsGB will for the first time in recent history have representation in every sport at the Paralympic Games. The next stage for both sports will be the nomination of athletes to fill these slots. This will take place in May and June.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association said: “Congratulations to both sports on being able to take up their host country slots. I’m pleased that we are able to confirm that they are fully part of the team and we look forward to working as hard with them now as we have in the past year to ensure the best possible performance in London.
“I am proud of the process that we have gone through with these sports and strongly believe we have the right outcome. In setting such clear parameters for what constitutes credible performance, in particular what progression we expected to see since November last year, we have remained true both to our standards for the team and our ambition to have athletes compete in every sport in London.”
Explaining the decision further, BPA Performance Director, Penny Briscoe, said: “The extra time has seen both sports up the ante in terms of performance preparation. At a recent tournament in Venice Goalball showed that this is paying off – both teams finished in the final four and the women were in contention for the Gold medal.
“But this decision was as much about what was happening off the court rather than simply how they performed in competition. The standard of Paralympic sport is really high and as our track record of coming second on the medal table has shown, we demand high standards from anyone who pulls on a ParalympicsGB tracksuit. Neither of these sports was in the British team in Athens or Beijing so this has been a tough journey and they both know that there is still a long way to go, with a lot of hard work to be put in before the Games. They are both determined to continue to progress and use London as a springboard for further development so that when the host country slot isn’t there in Rio, they are in a strong position to achieve qualification in their own right.”
Mike Reilly, CEO of Goalball said: “We’re delighted with the decision today and this reflects the hard work of the athletes and support team. We are committed to carry on this hard work over the coming five months to ensure we are best prepared for the honour of competing at a home Games.”
Lisa Wainwright, CEO of Volleyball England who run the Sitting Volleyball programme said: “Sitting volleyball has grown from strength to strength and interest in the sport is growing rapidly. This decision today is fantastic news for the sport and it is down to a whole team effort both on and off the court. This women’s squad was only formed in 2009 so it is great that the players and support staff have developed enough to have the opportunity to be part of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The hard work really starts now, we will be working with the BPA to ensure we continue to develop and ensure they are fully prepared over the coming months. Congratulations to all the squad who must now fight for their place on the ParalympicsGB team.”