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Great Britain’s Dampney/Mullen just brilliant Sunday

Great Britain's Shauna Mullin embraces teammate Zara Dampney as shown on the LED-board above some of the nearly 15,000 of host-country fans who joyously cheered the British team's brilliant win over Canada at the London 2012 Olympic Games

London, Great Britain, July 29, 2012 – While Great Britain deservedly earns a collective pat on the back of sincere gratitude from the international community for staging a remarkable XXX Olympiad, a partisan packed-in crowd cheered wildly as if it were a Premier League match, relished in the rain and roared in the sheer joy of appreciating the performance Sundayby their own British beach volleyball stars Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin who pulled out a brilliant victory over Canada’s Marie-Andree Lessard and Annie Martin in London 2012 Olympic Games competition. All the heated action is being held in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.

Closing the middle midday session of four matches, Great Britain’s sixth-seeded Dampney/Mullin opened their Olympic Games experience in amazingly dramatic fashion, sloshing through the intermittent heavy rain that turned into showers of blessings with a come from behind, three-set victory over Canada’s 19th-seeded Lessard/Martin, 17-21, 21-14 and 15-13 in 54 soggy, tear-stained minutes.

While most in the huge audience likely knew little about the sport that isn’t as popular here as it is in Europe, USA, Brazil, China and Australia, one wouldn’t know it as they joyously and repeated rose to their feet to cheer on the home country duo which had to be a major motivational boost for Britain’s Dampney/Mullin. It was also only the second victory in an Olympic beach volleyball match, either men or women, since the sport made its medal debut in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games when when the time of Audrey Cooper/Amanda Glover won one match.

Left almost speechless, Mullin said afterwards, “It was really enjoyable. We had to put up a good fight and work really hard for it. So it’s nice to bring home the win. On match point, itt was a case of ‘this is any point, it’s just one point’ and not to put any pressure on yourself, whatever happens we were going to battle to the end.  This is beach volleyball which isn’t really a big sport in the UK, so to bring right to the centre of London, one of the best venues of the Olympics and for us personally it is amazing. To look up and see the London skyline and know that we are in the heart of London and the heart of the UK is just incredible and inspiring. ”

When it was finally finished after nearly an hour of serves, digs, blocks and kills, Great Britain’s Dampney had four service aces, 21 kills and 10 digs while her teammate statistically contributed one ace, 17 kills, one block and nine digs. For Canada, Lessard was credited with two aces, 12 kills and six digs while Martin had three aces, 10 kills, three blocks and six digs in the exceptionally exciting match. Great Britain’s Dampney/Mullin also took a 2-1 lead in the international series history between the two teams.

Dampney was equally as happy, proclaiming, “After losing the first set, we knew we just had to remain calm. We knew that at that point it wasn’t working as best as possible, but we knew we had to remain calm and keep communicating with each other, talking about what was going right, what was going wrong and not panic in that situation. The crowd was unbelievable. I can’t even know how to describe it. It just flew by. Everyone was behind us, so it felt like we were playing for 15,000 people, so that was pretty cool. Not to mention it is the Olympic Games. I crowd like this one it pushes you over the edge to make one more block, makes you serve tougher.”

As all four women’s matches today have gone to the tie-breaker set, reflecting the level of intensity on the court, in the other women’s match in the midday session, Germany’s eighth-seeded Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig held off Australia’s 17th-seeded Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer, 21-18, 19-21 and 15-8 in 53 minutes. The series history between the two teams internationally is now 3-3 after Germany’s win Saturday.

In the men’s competition in the midday session, the spotlight match saw Latvia’s 17th-seeded Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins come from behind to upset Germany’s eighth-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, 19-21, 23-21 and 15-9 in 57 minutes.

Defeating the Germans for the fourth straight time to move to 4-1 in their overal international series record, Latvia’s Plavins statistically had one ace, 26 kills and 20 digs while Smedins had one ace, nine kills, two blocks and three digs.

In the first men’s match of the session, Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil struggled considerably but hold off Venezuela’s 20th-seeded Igor Hernandez/Jesus VillaFane, 21-18, 17-21 and 15-10 in 54 minutes in a match that started in good weather but was diluged with a downpour as it went on.

In the stats book, Netherland’s Nummerdor was credited with one ace, 15, kills and 18 digs, while Schuil had 26 kills and 10 digs.

Action continues Sunday night with the evening session of our matches, two for each gender.

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