SHEFFIELD’S Rachel Laybourne says the Great Britain women’s volleyball team can be proud of their Olympic debut.
The squad, which has been based in the city and supported by Sheffield organisations and business lost 3-0 (25-19, 25-10, 25-16) against World champions Russia, but showed that they belong at the highest level in front of a crowd of 15,000 at Earls Court.
Laybourne, aged 30, said it was a tremendous experience: “I really have to give a massive thank you to the crowd. It really felt like a home advantage.
“The score didn’t go our way but we can be very proud of our performances. Everyone gave what they could; they’re a tough opposition so it was never going to be straightforward.
“I see that as a great challenge. From now on we have a baseline and we don’t drop below that. We’ll keep challenging. Our next opposition is Algeria and that’s our ‘go for’ match.
“I guarantee that in two days we’ll be back on the court and firing.”
Skipper Lynne Beattie said the clash with the Russians, who included two players of 6’8” tall, will stand Great Britain in good stead for the rest of the competition.
“We’ll never face a bigger block than the Russians. If we can score points against them we can score against anyone.
“It gives us a lot of confidence. We can’t be too down on ourselves because they’re world champions.
“We’re happy going into the next game - not happy with the result, but happy with the performance,” she added.