Students from South Downs College are on the road to Olympic glory.
A dedicated team of pupils have beaten off the challenge of applicants from all around the country to play a lead role in the volleyball tournament at London 2012.
The 28 youngsters will maintain the courts at the indoor event based at Earls Court.
The ‘games makers’ will be responsible for the smooth running of the competition with jobs such as floor moppers, quick moppers and ball boys and girls.
One of the South Downs College students selected is Rebecca van Berkel.
As an England under-18 hockey player, van Berkel has ambitions of featuring in a future Olympic Games.
But she admitted simply being part of London 2012 as a volunteer will be a dream come true.
‘It’s the biggest event in the world,’ she said.
‘As it gets closer, it’s beginning to dawn on me that I’m going to be part of it.’
With all the hype and focus on selection and preparation for the athletes, it is easy to forget the essential work which goes on behind the scenes to run the Games smoothly and professionally. In fact, the selection process to become part of the team of volunteers assisting in the volleyball competition has been nearly as tense as the countdown for the players themselves.
The process began last summer when 17 South Downs College students were selected to work as young games makers for the volleyball test event.
It was the highest level of volleyball ever to be played in the UK and the pressure was on for the students to impress.
After the event, it became apparent two groups of volunteers would be needed.
The team was therefore split into under-18s and over-18s, which left spaces available for more students to join.
Naturally, the team had no trouble recruiting more members.
And after filling their spaces the team got preparations under way for the last event held at Canary Wharf in London.
The South Downs students were soon up to speed, too, following early-morning training sessions and a visit from Matt Rogers – the technical operations manager for the volleyball event, which runs from July 28 to August 12.
Showing exceptional teamwork and ingenuity at the second test event, all that was left for the students to do was wait.
And when the news came through, they were overjoyed to be given the nod for the main competition.
Adult team member Becca Jones said: ‘We had an amazing time at the test events. We enjoyed meeting some of the best volleyball teams from around the world.
‘And we were even happier when we found out we had been selected to volunteer again at the Olympics!’
South Downs were one of three teams selected to work on the event.
The team of young games makers – under-18s – includes Adam Cripps, Kimberley Goodall, Daniel Barry, Eloise Shrimpton, Hannah Palmer, Hannah Searle and Jessica Hathaway.
They are joined by Laura Pugh, Lauren Townsend, Mia McQuillan, Rachael Potter, van Berkel, Ruth Goble, Samuel Rogers, Sammie Price, Sam Gisborne, Tom Singleton and Vicki Brindley.
The adult games makers are made up of Jones, Bridie Delaney, Christopher Harvey, Joanna Goss, Keira Robinson, Ross Burgess, Sophie Ormston, Tom Wilson, Victoria Bates and Dan Metherall.