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Sacrifices of duo to land 2012 handball dream
WHEN Holly Lam-Moores was surviving on cheese on toast and Ciaran Williams shared a two bedroom flat with five others, they never gave up on their Olympic handball dream.
Lam-Moores has already realised hers – she was named in the women’s Great Britain squad last week – while Williams will learn his fate on Monday when the men’s squad is announced.
Having been in the GB set-up since day one, it would be a mighty upset if Williams is omitted. But he is taking nothing for granted.
It has been that way since Williams and later Lam-Moores were selected as part of the Olympic development squad based in Denmark five years ago – only then having to fend for themselves when funding faded.
Some players gave up on the dream and returned home while others, including the East Lancashire pair, continued to chase it.
“Those of us who really wanted it, stuck at it, those who didn’t, went home,” said Burnley-born Lam-Moores, a former Alder Grange High School pupil. “They were some very tough times and we had to beg, borrow and steal at times but we were chasing a dream and I never once felt like giving up.”
The remaining squad splintered across Europe, Lam-Moores, one of eight to head to Norway, while Williams and five team-mates went to play for Tusem Essen in the German Bundesliga.
“Although it was the greatest handball experience of my life, off the court it was really tough,” said Williams, 24, a former Haslingden High School pupil from Edenfield. “There was six of us in a two bedroom flat living off a very small amount of money.
“They were testing times but we came through it and made us even more determined to achieve our goal – although some days the Olympics never felt so distant.”
Lam-Moores believes the hardship has made the achievement of playing in the Olympics all the more sweeter.
“If we were given everything on a plate I am certain we would not have fought so hard for it,” said the 21-year-old, GB’s second all-time leading scorer. “It was incredibly expensive in Norway and we had no money so what we had, we had to spend wisely,” “We had to survive on cheese on toast, noodles and lots of eggs. Not the nicest of diets but you did what you had to do. Would I eat them again? Of course, I like food too much!”
She too lived in cramped conditions, eight of them squeezed into a three bedroom house, including her younger sister Chloe.
“Chloe basically slept in a cupboard with her legs sticking out!” said Lam-Moores. “She ended up going home simply because our parents couldn’t fund both of us.”
Lam-Moores gave up a professional contract in Denmark when British Handball gathered the squad together in London last year. Since then she has had to claim benefits to help ends meet, although she does get a little funding.
But now her career has come full circle and this week signed for top Danish club Viborg HK, who she will join after London 2012.
“It’s been hard but I would do it all again,” she added. “I still can’t believe I’ve signed for Viborg. They are a top team but that is something to concentrate on later. First of all there is the Olympics.”