GB girls set for Baku 2015

Great Britain's under-17 water polo girls touched down in Azerbaijan on Monday ahead of the inaugural European Games in Baku. Head coach Nick Buller and his squad now have three full days of preparation before their opening Group A clash against reigning champions Greece on Friday.

While in the former Soviet State, the GB players and staff will stay in the purpose-built Athletes Village overlooking the 68,195-seater Olympic Stadium, which will host the athletics events and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. "The facilities here look fantastic and we can't wait to start training fully tomorrow and working on our tactics," said Nick. "We're looking forward to the next two weeks and although we know we're up against some very tough opposition, we're ready to give our all in every game."

The water polo tournament is scheduled for 12-21 June and will take place in one of six temporary venues being used for the Games.

For every match and training session, a dedicated Baku 2015 team bus will transfer the squad to and from the outdoor Water Polo Arena, which has a seating capacity of over 1,280. Two competition-sized pools have been built for the occasion, each measuring 35m long, 22m wide and 2m deep, and with two games able to take place at the same time, eight state-of-the-art team changing rooms have also been created.

As well as Greece, Great Britain have been drawn alongside Netherlands, Hungary, Germany and Israel, while Group B consists of France, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Russia and Spain. The top three teams from each group will progress to the knockout medal stages and the remaining sides will play crossover classification games.

"With no funding, we've faced a lot of challenges to be here, but this team has great spirit and the girls deserve their place at the top table of international water polo," added Nick.
"Some of my team are also in the middle of their exams, so we've had to schedule training around revision and a few players are even having to sit exams out here at the British Embassy. "Teams like Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Russia and Greece all have well-funded professional set-ups and they are in a league of their own. Our approach is very much to be the best of the rest, but a finish anywhere in the top 10 would be a great achievement."

GB water polo travelling party in full:

Hayley Price, Lucy Shaw, Beth Ward, Lara Partridge, Grace Rowland, Fleur Kennedy, Hannah Edwards, Mhairi Nurthen, Izzy Dean (captain), Kathy Rogers, Verity McCoy (vice captain), Dani Brazier & Sophie Jackson.

Head coach: Nick Buller
Assistant coaches: Sue Webb & Ant McGuinness
Team doctor: Adrian Lim
Physio: Victoria McDonnell

Thanks to Andy Rollé.

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