British women make winning debut
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The sun came out for British women's beach volleyball pair Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin as they fought back to beat a Canadian pair on Sunday, giving a sodden crowd something to cheer after sudden torrential downpours.
The British first-time Olympians lost the first set of their pool match against Annie Martin and Marie-Andree Lessard but found their pace in the second and won the third by a whisker, lifted by an exuberant crowd pumped up by blaring pop music.
Absolutely amazing. Obviously to win our first Olympic game, our first Olympics is a big thing, to bring home a win for GB was amazing. The crowd kept us going, lived every point with us, Dampney told reporters.
Beach volleyball matches are scored using a best-of-three-sets system in which the first two sets are played to 21 points and the third, if required, goes to 15 points. A two-point advantage is needed to win a set.
The British pair won 2-1 (17-21, 21-14, 15-13).
As their match progressed, a ray of late afternoon sunshine pierced the clouds above the 15,000-seater stadium built for the event at Horse Guards Parade, a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace in the heart of London.
The stadium has no roof, so players and spectators get drenched when it rains. For most of the day, brief sunny spells alternated with heavy showers, offering the unusual sight of athletes in bikinis in action on the sand while spectators in rain ponchos sat stoically under umbrellas.
Although it's nicer, better for the spectators when the weather is better, we are ready to play in anything, said Mullin after her match.
At the London Games, 24 pairs of each gender are divided into six pools for the first phase, which lasts until Aug. 2. The competition then moved to a knockout stage.
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