Skip Navigation LinksNews > News
News
23/02/2017 10:21
English beach pair given significant funding boost
News from the National Federations

Loughborough, England, February 23, 2017. England’s chances of securing a Beach Volleyball medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games have been given a huge boost with Sport England agreeing to fund the leading men’s beach pair to the tune of £40,000.

Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf’s current world ranking should see England qualify as one of the top-ranked Commonwealth countries. The new funding will be used to provide coaching support as the pair look to maintain that position before the qualification cut-off point in August. It will also support them through an extensive training and competition schedule leading up to the Games in April 2018.

Securing entry to the Commonwealth Games – to be held on Australia’s Gold Coast – would represent a significant achievement for a pair that was ranked outside the top 300 in 2014 but who have since climbed to 65[1]. Of the Commonwealth countries, only Australia and Canada have men’s pairs who are more highly ranked than Gregory and Sheaf.

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Gregory said: “We’re really pleased to receive this funding, as to be in a situation like this is something we’ve been working towards for a few years. This funding opens up so many new opportunities for us in terms of training and competition – all of which are vital for us to compete at the very highest level. Above all, to work closely with our coach, Kirk Pitman, in different training environments and at competitions, is something we have not been able to do before. It'll be huge to have more time with Kirk in the season and it's something the whole team is delighted about.”

“I try to stay on the optimistic side and was hopeful we would receive some funding because of the way we finished last year and because of our Commonwealth Nations ranking. I think we have shown that, with the right support, we can be medal contenders at the Commonwealth Games. Receiving this funding – for which we are really grateful – suggests that Sport England share our confidence. We now have over a year to get ourselves into the best possible shape for the competition.”

“Lastly, I think receiving this funding is testament to all the work that's been put in, not only by Jake and I but also by the people around us, without whom we wouldn't be here now with this new opportunity to compete for England. Huge thanks must go to our incredible team, our supporters and the people behind the scenes who have made things happen. I think a successful bid is a small victory for the team, and for English Beach Volleyball, and we’ll look to make it count over the next year when we go out and represent our country.”

Now regulars on the European and World Tours, Gregory and Sheaf are no strangers to big competitions, having also qualified for the 2015 European Games and the European Championships Final.

Under the tutelage of their coach, Kirk Pitman, who has previously supported the pair on a purely voluntary basis, they followed that up in November 2016 with a gold medal at the NEVZA (North European Volleyball Zonal Association) competition in Gothenburg; the best ever achievement by an English pair.

Pitman, himself a 10-year veteran of the FIVB scene, has not been the only volunteer supporting the pair. Strength and conditioning, sports psychology and physio services are all provided to the pair free of charge, courtesy of their band of volunteer supporters.

When it came to training camps and competitions abroad however, Gregory and Sheaf previously had to operate alone as well as funding these activities themselves. The Sport England award means that Pitman can now be a more permanent presence at their side, allowing the athletes to focus on their performance with fewer off-court distractions.

The two players – who are both Team England Ambassadors – will both be 28 when the Games come around, coincidentally the average age for first-time medallists at the Olympic Games. With Gregory standing at 210cm, the pair can also lay claim to having the second tallest player on the World Tour.

The award is further recognition of the growing professionalism within the beach game, with many national governing bodies now looking to provide full time coaching and support to their athletes. Among the Commonwealth countries, Canada, Australia and now England lead the way on this front.

Canada currently has four pairs in the top 50, led by the 11th ranked Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton. Australia – whose spot in the Commonwealth Games competition is guaranteed as hosts – look likely to be represented by their one top 50 pair; the 23rd ranked Isaac Kapa and Chris McHugh.

News nr. 1272 of 18296
23/02/2017 11:15:00
Dinamo KAZAN advance to CEV Cup quarterfinals after defeating ZOK Bimal-Jedinstvo BRČKO
23/02/2017 10:10:00
Jedinstvo STARA PAZOVA celebrate historic national cup title
Advanced Search
From:
RadDatePicker
Open the calendar popup.
To:
RadDatePicker
Open the calendar popup.
Search for:
select

LiveScore
   
2018 CL W
2nd Round
 
 
19:30Local Time
Hapoel KFAR SABA
vs.
Developres SkyRes RZESZOW
View
Live
18:00Local Time
Linamar-BÉKÉSCSABAI RS KFT
vs.
Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO
View
Live
19:00Local Time
SLIEDRECHT Sport
vs.
Asterix Avo BEVEREN
View
Live
19:00Local Time
ŽOK Bimal-Jedinstvo BRČKO
vs.
Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR
View
Live
2018 CL W
2nd Round
 
 
20:00Local Time
Rocheville LE CANNET
vs.
Minchanka MINSK
Live


Calendar
Calendar
Title and navigation
<<<October 2017>>>
October 2017
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
2526272829301
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345