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London 2012 Games


Jennifer Taylor Photograph courtesy of Michael McConville

Loughborough graduate ‘so proud’ to make Team GB volleyball squad

2 July 2012

Loughborough University graduate Jennifer Taylor says her selection for the Team GB volleyball squad has yet to fully sink in.

Jennifer, 31, is one of four Loughborough graduates in the 12-strong team, the others being Lucy Wicks, Rachel Laybourne, and Maria Bertelli. A fifth, Rachel Bragg, played for Loughborough Students.

All four studied at the university and were part of the England women’s performance programme in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Jennifer, who did a degree in PE sports science and social science, said: “I am so happy, so proud, so relieved, so excited. There are so many emotions and I’m trying to let it sink in.

“There are a couple of girls, Rachel Newton and Stacey O’Connor, who have not been selected which has tainted it a bit because we are a really close knit team.

“So personally it’s brilliant but two of our team mates are broken-hearted.

“It has been a big journey. I started out when I was 13, 14 years old, and then when London was announced as hosts we reformed as GB because until then we competed as home nations, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland

“So for the last five years this has been full time and the only thing I have really been massively concentrating on.

“I was a teacher and taught in Derby for seven years but for the last six years this has been the main priority.”

Jennifer, who lived in Shepshed while teaching in Derby, moved to Germany two years ago to play volleyball before moving on to Holland.

And she admitted she feared for her Olympic place in February when her team, TFM/DOK, folded and she lost her house and car.

She said: “Very much so. That was in February so we had two months before GB met up again.

“There was no full time volleyball to come back to. I had to leave my volleyball house and lost my car. I got another club in Holland but could not play because I missed the transfer deadline.”

Jennifer says she had a great time at Loughborough University.

She added: “I loved my time at Loughborough. If I could go back I would. It was brilliant, I really loved it

“I was part of the England women’s performance programme coached by Craig Handford. I went to the College to finish my A levels and then transferred across the road to the university.”

Jennifer is hopeful that Team GB will win a medal. “Anything is possible,” she said.

“We have got to target a couple of games against nations we feel we must take. If we take those games we are into the quarter finals and then anything is possible.

“This is the first time that GB indoor volleyball has been in the Olympics, and if we make the quarter finals that would be a massive achievement for us.”

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