RICHMOND’s Issa Batrane’s hard work has paid off after landing a place in the Great Britain beach volleyball squad bound for the FISU World University Championships 2016 in July.

Batrane and partner Andrew Clayton head to Parnu in Estonia next month as GB is represented at the competition for the first time in a number of years.

Batrane recently made English beach volleyball history when he and partner Harry Jones became the first team representing England to make it through the pool stages of an FIVB U21 tournament.

“I’m really happy to be selected,” said Batrane, who plays for Wessex.

“I was one of the youngest at the selection camp, I had no expectations so I just threw everything at it and it paid off.

“It’s been a great season so far and it’s really given me confidence in my game.

“Andy is a really driven athlete, he likes to perform well so we’ll be a good match.”

Team Northumbria’s Andrew Clayton, who played for England on the NEVZA tour in 2014/15, has also won numerous accolades indoors.

“Beach is relatively new to me so I’m really happy to be selected,” he said.

“The vision for us in the long term is Tokyo 2020.

“Issa and I get on really well, he’s got a great work ethic and he is really driven.

“All we can do is plan our matches, work hard and play the best we can.”

Lewie Lett will be the duo’s head coach at the competition and he felt the pair had worked hardest to get the two berths in an exciting time for the sport in England.

“We’ve made significant progress with the men’s development squad and the selection was really tough,” he said.

“We have a number of players who are working hard, so Issa and Andy really had to push themselves to claim the top spots.

“They showed the best consistency throughout the camp as well as a good mentality and physicality which is why they were ultimately selected this time.

“This is the first time in a number of years that GB has had a team in this competition so we’ll be looking to go out there and be competitive.

“We have high standards and we are expecting some good results from Issa and Andy to see how far they can go.”

Neil Rogers, head of international programmes at BUCS, said: “BUCS is delighted to be working with the home nation Volleyball associations to select and support a GB university pair to compete at the FISU World University Championships 2016 in Estonia.

“This represents the first GB entry to any FISU event since 2010 and illustrates the role that Higher Education is increasingly playing in support of GB volleyball talent and performance programmes.

“Next year in 2017 is also very exciting as beach volleyball becomes part of the BUCS inter-university programme, and we look towards a potential GB indoor entry at the Summer Universiade.”