Four more Sporting Giants selected for Team GBSubscribe
Grace Cullen 05 July 2012
Four Sporting Giants were this week selected for the GB men’s handball team, bringing the total number of Talent ID athletes selected for Team GB to ten.
Bobby White, a former semi-professional footballer, had never even heard of handball when he applied for the UK Sport and English Institute of Sport Talent ID campaign, Sporting Giants, in 2007. Five years on, White will captain GB’s first ever Olympic handball team at London 2012.
He said: “For me to lead our team out at the Olympics is a huge honour. I don’t know how to put it into words, but I’m sure it will be the proudest moment of my life.
“No matter what happens for me and the team now, over the last five years I’ve been on an incredible journey that I never thought I would take.”
Fellow Sporting Giants Dan McMillan, John Pearce and Mark Hawkins were all also included in the 14-strong squad, confirmed by the British Olympic Association on Tuesday (3 July).
McMillan was a former American football player, Pearce played rugby at Loughborough University and Hawkins represented the Brighton Bears basketball team, before the trio switched to handball, moving to Europe to play club handball at the highest level.
Fronted by five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave, the Sporting Giants programme attracted almost 5,000 applications from hopefuls wanting to try out for the sports of handball, volleyball and rowing. With Team GB almost complete, ten Talent ID athletes will represent their country in sports they had never previously tried.
Ian Yates, Senior Talent Scientist for the UK Talent Team, said: “Following on from the women’s announcement, I am delighted to see four male Sporting Giants join the handball squad for London 2012. The fact that one, Bobby White, will be leading the team out as captain is a huge achievement.
“I am sure that the past five and a half years has been filled with trials, tribulations and triumphs, however to think that 20% of the handball squad lining up in London will be from this initiative exceeds anyone’s expectations.”
In addition to the four athletes selected for the men’s handball team, two Sporting Giants, Kathryn Fudge and Louise Jukes, were selected for the women’s handball squad. Sporting Giants were also selected in rowing, with world silver medallist Helen Glover and world bronze medallist Vicky Thornley making Team GB. In canoeing, Richard Jefferies made the team, along with Angela Hannah, who was recruited through GB Canoeing’s sprint kayaking fast track programme in 2007.