Students and staff train with Team GB Olympian and Paris 2024 hopeful
12th December 2023
Last week, students and staff took part in a volleyball training session with Team GB Olympian and former local resident Ben Pipes. Ben grew up in Beverley and started playing volleyball when he was 13 and went on to progress to elite athlete status, competing in the London 2012 Olympic games. Ben was joined by British Champion and Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Javier Bello with the session being led by Luis Bello, Javier’s coach, and father. Javier is part of the ‘Bello brothers’ beach volleyball team with his twin brother, Joaquin and aged just 23, the brothers already boast five World Tour medals, Commonwealth bronze, four-straight British Championships, and a 5th place in their European Championship debut. The ‘Bello brothers’team have been Beach Volleyball British Champions four years in a row and are hoping to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic games so it was a privilege for our staff and students to have the opportunity to train with them, gain an insight in to the world of an elite athlete, learn new skills and have fun too.
The session kicked off with an introduction to our special guests from our partner Team GB, followed by a warmup, before completing some skills training with Ben, Javier and Luis, ending with having a go at playing a game of volleyball using their newly learned skills. As part of the event staff and students also took part in a Q&A where they heard what it was like to be an elite athlete, heard tips and advice on how to balance their studies and work with other aspects of life and how to build confidence to achieve your goals. In the Q&A Javier also talked about how he balances his time between his studies and his sport. Both Javier and Joaquin, are currently studying at university. Javier is working towards achieving a Masters degree at King’s College London and Joaquin is a sixth year Medicine student at Imperial College, which means a lot of studying in planes, beaches and hotel lobbies around the world for both the brothers.
Coach Luis also shared advice about his own work ethic and how that has helped him in his own career as a professional volleyball player and as the team coach. Ben also shared some insight with us about how he got into the sport and gave tips for how others can build the confidence to start a new sport. Tom and Nathan, are both members of the university volleyball team and had this to say about the event, “…it was Really interesting, we got to learn about their work-life balance with university and full-time volleyball and in the skills session today we got to learn about a new trick, we enjoyed it a lot.”
Other attendees said that the event was “fun and engaging”, “inspiring” and shared their feedback on the event to say they would recommend others to attend events in the future and that the highlight of the event was being coached by elite coaches and athletes as well as meeting new people.
The training with Team GB events are just one of the many benefits of the partnership that the university has with Team GB and as we enter into an Olympic year and excitement builds for Paris 2024, we will be sharing opportunities to take part in future events.
The Allam Sport Centre
University of Hull
Monday – Friday: 07:00 – 22:00
Saturday & Sunday: 09:00 – 19:00
These hours are subject to change
during out of term times.