Olympic Games - Bakare switches attention from Olympics to degree

After the thrill of appearing at the London 2012 Olympics, British volleyball player Peter Bakare is enjoying the quieter life of a university student.

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Olympic Games - Bakare switches attention from Olympics to degree
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Britain's Ben Pipes (R) sets up a spike for Peter Bakare against Italy during their men's Group A volleyball match at Earls Court during the London 2012 Olympic Games (Reuters)

The 23-year-old, who is studying for a degree in animation at the Northumbria University, could have followed his British team-mates who decided to forge a career overseas.

But Bakare is convinced that under the tutelage of British women's assistant coach David Goodchild, he can hone his trade and force his way into the senior England side.

Goodchild coaches Team Northumbria, and Bakare hopes getting regular game-time under his mentor, plus the experience of playing for England in their recent European Championship games, will help him cement his place as a first-team regular for his country in 2013.

"I have spent a lot of time with the England seniors and obviously I was with the British squad for most of the year during the Olympics but it's about making sure I get picked now," said Bakare.

"At the European Championships we were playing so well even though things were not going our way but you could see we have progressed so much from before.

"I'd put it down to just pure grit and determination. We have trained hard and are looking to improve in every game we play.

"I have come back to university in Northumbria but I am still getting high-class training even though I am not playing abroad like some of the other guys.

"David is coaching here with Team Northumbria and we have a £30million, state-of-the-art complex called Sports Central so it is the next best alternative.

"He is always in contact with the British head coach and they know what is best for me so I am getting exactly what I need from training.

"For me before the Olympics it was all about volleyball and that was my main goal but I wanted to finish my degree and I've got the opportunity to do so in the next two years."

Originally from Canning Town, Bakare admitted his Olympic experience was indescribable, particularly for someone who had witnessed east London's transformation firsthand.

"I cannot put into words what it was like at the Games," he added. "These are the same streets I grew up on and I got to play on the biggest stage in my own back yard.

"I think it is my technical aspects I need to improve though. I have always been a power player and I want to improve my little things and find the time to do that.

"With two more years of studying to go I am hoping there will be more games in the summer to play in so I have to keep up my level so that I continue to get selected."

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