LONDON 2012: Dampney and Mullin targeting Olympic top ten finish
ZARA Dampney believes she and beach volleyball partner Shauna Mullin are a stronger team for their fraught Olympic qualifying campaign.
Dampney and Mullin were locked in a tense two-year battle with domestic rivals Denise Johns and Lucy Boulton for the one space on Great Britain's Olympic team.
And now they've booked their spot they are targeting matching Team GB's only previous beach volleyball appearance, Audrey Cooper and Amanda Glover's ninth place finish in Atlanta 16 years ago.
"The qualifying certainly toughened us up," said Dampney.
"It was hard because we were all in the same training group for five years and we'd spent every single day travelling the world together and were friends as well.
"Our goal was to get to the Olympics and now we've done it we want to do ourselves justice by playing the best we can.
"The big aim is to follow the '96 girls and get a top ten finish, that would be a great achievement for us. We play these teams week in, week out so they aren't unknown to us. We know the job we have to do to beat them."
Meanwhile, Mullin claimed her ambition for the Games was to give people a better understanding of the sport by looking beyond its glamour headlines, with one British tabloid newspaper running a campaign to make the team wear bikinis, after it emerged they could cover-up if the miserable British summer continued.
"A lot of people come along for the bikinis but they do leave with a better understanding of the sport and how exciting it is and I think get captivated by what we do," she said.
"Beach volleyball is a glamorous sport we understand that. But we know how hard we work and it would be nice to change the perception of the sport."
© Sportsbeat 2012