Rome, Italy, June 16 – Great Britain’s Denise Johns is eagerly awaiting the chance to take beach volleyball to the British public during the London 2012 Olympic Games and hopes it will help change people’s perception of the sport in the country.
Johns and her long-time partner Lucy Boulton are hoping to compete on Horse Guards Parade, the location for the Olympic beach volleyball competition and one of the most central locations of the Games.
The venue lies across St. James’ Park from Buckingham Palace and near the heart of the British government, situated very close to the prime minister’s residence in Downing Street. As such, it has had Olympic watchers predicting that it will be one of the successes of the Games.
“I think a lot of people will be talking about it and getting really excited about beach volleyball even though beach volleyball is one of the minority sports in the United Kingdom,” Johns said.
“It is not too popular; people don’t know too much about the sport. Hopefully, being at that site, it will gain a lot more exposure and grow in popularity in England. It is everything I’ve been working for for so long, so it will be huge.”
Before then, the British duo may have the chance to try out the venue during the official test event from August 9-14.
“I’d like to be involved in that,” Johns admitted. “It hasn’t been completely decided, but I think it will be an amazing sight. I think they’ve got five courts and a set-up there with the stands for a mock-up of how the actual Olympics will be.”
In London, the pair will aim to improve on their performance at the FIVB Swatch World Championship Rome 2011 powered by smart.
They failed to progress to the knockout stages after winning one and losing two of their pool games, but they believe they have made progress.
“We’ve just played on Centre Court and it was a tough loss, but we left it all out there,” Johns said.
“At the last World Championships we didn’t put everything out on the court due to nerves from just being at the World Championships getting in the way. This time nerves didn’t get in the way so much; we just didn’t take our opportunities.”