Leading volleyball player coaches aspiring pupils going for gold at upcoming youth tournament

A volleyball player hoping to represent Britain at the Olympic Games offered tips and encouragement to pupils set to represent the borough at a capital-wide sports event.

Dami Bakare, voted British Volleyball Player of the Year, visited Eastbury School, Barking, to run an after-hours coaching clinic for Year 9 girls.

The talented pupils will play at this year’s Balfour Beatty London Youth Games qualifiers on May 26 and 27 at the SCORE Centre in Leyton.

Dami, who competes professionally for VC Argex Duvel Puurs in the Belgian League, took part in the Youth Games himself when he was 14.

He said: “It was a lot of fun. I had literally just started in the sport.

“Back then I wasn’t hitting the ball at all well and any sort of defence was weak. But seeing the kids at Eastbury, they are already doing the right things. They are already ahead of where I was at that age.”

One of the pupils, Abigail Fox, 14, said: “I got into volleyball about three years ago. It’s a very competitive game. When you do beat schools that you think you’re not going to beat, it gives you a good buzz.

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“The London Youth Games gives us something to work for and keeps us motivated.”

The volleyball Youth Games finals are at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace, on June 30. Dami is a strong contender for the British Olympic team.