ZARA Dampney’s time at London 2012 might have come to an end yesterday, but the south coast beach volleyball star hopes this isn’t the last we have seen of her in the capital.
The 26-year-old and partner Shauna Mullin took to Horse Guards Parade in a winner-takes-all ‘lucky loser’ match with Austria, with the victor handed a reprieve and a place in the final 16.
The Great Britain duo hadn’t tasted victory since their opener against Canada but things looked good as they won the toss and raced into an early 3-0 lead in the first set.
But the experience of Austrian sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger pulled them through in the end, Dampney and Mullin going down in straight sets and forced to wave goodbye to London 2012.
However, with the sport having captured the nation’s imagination in the capital, Dampney is adamant the legacy of beach volleyball needs to live on in their absence.
“We gave it our all but the Austrians are good and in the end they were just too strong for us and that is disappointing,” she said.
“It was always going to be tough and we tried our hardest but they have far more experience than us and that counted at the end.
“But even though this is it for our London adventure we would love to see an event like this staged every year, we think it would be fantastic.
“There are obviously world tours that go around the world and most of them are in city centres like this so and with the reception the sport has got I think the public would love to have an event over here and that would be great.
“Hopefully the Olympics is a springboard for bigger and better things for beach volleyball in this country.”
Despite their exit from London 2012 at the group stages, the Games have been a success for Dampney and Mullin as they brought the sport into the public eye.
And Dampney admitted her capital adventure will live long in her memory.
“I think the problem was just inconsistencies in our performances because when we were good we could compete with the best in the world but it is just doing more regularly,” she added.
“We did win a match at our first Olympics which is great and the atmosphere of being out there will live with us for the rest of our lives.
“It is absolutely mind blowing when you are out there and it is really humbling the support we have had.”
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