Volleyball men put up a fight
Brazil beat British battlers
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.”
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“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.”