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Essex volleyball player makes Team GB

Great Britain's Nathan French shoots past Egypt's Saleh Youssef during the London International Invitational event at Earls Court London. Photo: PA Wire

Team GB's Mens Volleyball squad at the Olympics will feature a player from Chelmsford, Essex.

22 year old Nathan French is included in the squad of 12 announced today at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

French ironically plays his club volleyball in France at Avignon.

The Olympic Volleyball events will be staged at Earl's Court, London, with Team GB's first game against Bulgaria in the Men's competition on July 29.

Speaking after the announcement, French said, ' 'It's the pinnacle of sport, and I'm so proud of myself and the team. We've come so far, and it's a dream come true.

French is particularly excited about competing on the biggest stage in sport so close to home.

'It's phenomenal' French added. 'Like it's a twenty minute ride on the train. For my family, for my friends back at home and everyone there who's supported me, its such an achievement, and for it to be in London just up the road from me, just a stone's throw away its incredible. I mean its crazy.

And he's determined to get tickets for those who've helped realise his Olympic dream, particuraly his parents, saying. 'I'll try and sort some things out with them there. They've been through every step of the way, through the highs and lows, even before I broke into the GB team they've always been there throughout my development.

'From high school I'd like to thank everyone there, PE teachers Dan Lewis and Sarah Heaton. They've been there from the start. They got me involved at Boswell School, I'd just like to thank everyone, really'.

'Personally I really think we can compete with a lot of teams that are there. And we're there to put volleyball on the map as Great Britain. That's our main ambition, to qualify out of the pools which is really achieveable.

'Every day we're scouting other teams and we're trying really hard and training to the best of our ability every day to make this happen'.

Team GBs Men's Volleyball captain Ben Pipes said 'The first thing I want to do is congratulate all of those who have made the final selection, both Men and Women's athletes.

'Today's announcement is a massive milestone in the British Volleyball journey. So to find yourself among the final 12 names is such a huge honour and privilege. It is important to enjoy this moment and tonight I think everyone in the team will find it hard not to dream of walking out onto the Olympic court to bathe in the screams of 15,000 British fans in just four weeks' time!'.

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