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Maria Bertelli, Jennifer Taylor, Rachel Laybourne and Lucy Wicks

Tough times spur on volleyball girls for Olympics, say Loughborough graduates

4 July 2012

The Loughborough graduates chosen for Team GB women’s volleyball team say the tough road they have travelled to the London 2012 Olympics will spur them on.

Four former university students  – Rachel Laybourne, Jennifer Taylor, Lucy Wicks and Maria Bertelli - made the 12-strong squad.

And they are joined in the squad by Rachel Bragg, who attended Loughborough College. All went through the kitting out process at Team GB Loughborough Preparation Camp today.

Sadly, volleyball was one of eight sports that had its London 2012 funding cut in 2009 by UK Sport due to a budget shortfall.

But Lucy, 30, who graduated in sport and exercise science in 2003, says that made them even more determined to succeed.

She said: “We have been through a heck of a lot over the last five years and it really has brought us closer.

“The main thing was our funding was cut but we thought, ‘do you know what, we are still going to do it, our goals have not changed. We are just going to go a different way about it.’

“That’s what we have done. We just had to change the process, but it’s the same outcome.

“Everything we have had to do we have had to fight for, and that is going to stand us in good stead in a few weeks time because we are going to have to fight for every point in every game.

“We started out five years ago, so it has been a long time coming. You chunk up your focuses so you never think of the Olympic Games as being imminent.

“It seems like we have been doing this for quite a while now, but now it’s here it’s fantastic.

“Our goal is to reach the quarter final, which is a realistic goal, but it’s a tough one to achieve.

“It means winning two of our pool matches but with a home crowd behind us we could pull out a few surprises.”

In the photo are Maria Bertelli, Jennifer Taylor, Rachel Laybourne and Lucy Wicks. Rachel Bragg was absent for the picture because of a back injury but is expected to be fit for the Olympics at Earls Court

Team GB The Official Preparation Camp Headquarters for Team GB