Whitby youngsters dream to be on Olympic stage

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YOUNG volleyball players from around the Whitby area are dreaming of competing at this year’s Olympic venues, a month ahead of the 2012 games getting under way.

Those who took part in final selection for the 2012 UK School games over half-term are now nervously awaiting the letter informing them whether they have made it into the final 15.

If they make the cut for the games, which are being used as the final dress rehearsal for the London Olympics, youngsters will get a sense of the Olympics in this dry run for the 2012 games themselves.

Youngsters who make the squad will go off for a final training camp a week before The UKSG and only 12 from the 15 will make it to the actual games the following week in a gruelling selection process.

North Riding Eagles coach Anthony Laffan expressed a note of caution.

“Within our club, we encourage as many players as possible to attend regional training.

“This has seen many of our players selected to play for Yorkshire where they get to compete in the inter-regionals tournament which is a great weekend of volleyball,” he said.

“Much friendlier than the UKSG which can be very intense, the inter regionals is obviously a high standard but a bit more like The Commonwealth Games in the sense that players enjoy themselves and make lots of new friends.

“The UKSG can be stressful for youngsters as they may not get selected to actually play once there.

“I was shocked last year to find that North (girl) players were banned from even saying hello to other competitors by their coaches.

“This is a shame because sport should be about breaking down barriers and removing prejudice.

“It should teach our youngsters to make new friends and that you can be competitive but still be friendly.

“So the ban on being able to even speak to other competitors does seem pathetic when you actually think what sport is supposed to be about.”

This year, the attraction to be able to go to play sport at the site of the London Olympics. Young athletes will also get to stay in the Olympic village and feel the atmosphere via the security, menus etc that will all be in place as every last check for the games is made.

* Local players attending North trials were: Dougie Elias, Dan Davies, Mickey Elias, Lewis Cheung, James Goswell, Mathew Bates, Nick Ivin, Rebecca Chalk, Catherine Lewin, Rebecca Laffan, Joanne Connolly and Jessica Lewin

Awaiting selection for Yorkshire: most of the above plus Jake Allen, Mathew Hutchinson, Joe Hugill, David Marsden, Samantha Gibson, Isabella Shackleton, Eva Elias, Catherine Laffan, Sarah Powell, Abbie Robertson, Jess Edwards, Beth Jones, Flynn Middlemass and Lauren James.