We caught up with our ambassador Issa Batrane who is an international beach volleyball player currently competing in the Team GB squad to find out a bit more about him and seeing how he’s adapted to the recent challenges of the pandemic.
Hey Issa, welcome to LinQsport! We’re delighted to be working with you and can’t wait to see what the future brings. How are you?
Hey, thank you so much for having me on board and I can’t wait to get more people keeping active out there! I am doing good, currently training hard and preparing for our qualification tournament for Tokyo 2020 so that is taking up a lot of my days and energy currently in a positive way.
What was it about Volleyball that made you decide it was what you wanted to pursue?
Once I stepped on the sand and played, I just always linked it to being on a beach, having nice weather and being around my friends. It is just something that brings a smile to my face every time I get the opportunity to go on and play.
You are based in the UK and represent GB volleyball. How long have you been playing volleyball?
I started playing indoor volleyball back in 2010 and probably started beach volleyball around 2012/13 and from then I just haven’t looked back.
Are there any short-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next few months to a couple of years?
A few of my short-term goals include progressing to the final round of the Olympic Qualification competition for England/GB to be held in June to give us a chance of qualifying for Tokyo 2020 and then our other short-term goals are to be the England men’s team to compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. These are currently the big focus points for the next couple of years
Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?
For as long as I can remember I have always looked up to the Brazilian magician on the sand, Bruno Oscar Schmidt. Similar to me he isn’t the biggest player on the sand but works hard on his physical and technical skills as well as just being an all-round great player in many different situations in the game that has made him an Olympic and World Champion. I aspire to be a player like him on the World Tour one day.
How has covid affected your life as an athlete? Is there anything you’ve been doing from home that you never would have done before?
Covid has impacted me quite a bit in the sense of things not being so easy with travelling and competing abroad and of course the delay of the Tokyo Olympics and general competition preparation.
I definitely think doing workouts and trainings over zoom for a period of time was definitely something I thought I’d never be doing but I did enjoy the change and saw it as an opportunity to continue to grow through adversity.
On your Instagram you mentioned in your bio-Equality & Sustainability Advocate. Tell us more?
I am a huge advocate for positive messaging and change when it comes to equality for all, no matter your gender, race, age or sexual orientation. There is already too much divide on this planet and being able to use my platform to help inspire as well as lead positive change in this field is something that will always stay with me.
I am also very big on sustainability and looking into climate positive solutions. I think part of me caring so much about the planet I leave behind for the next generation has helped me be so active in this field. Climate change really is a big problem, and it is difficult to see leaders of our nations and so many people of the community not treating it like the global emergency it is. I look to use my platform and opportunities with businesses and like-minded people to voice what we can be doing to help reverse the damage we have already caused, and for me my big reason to do it, is so that my kids and many other kids can hopefully enjoy the planet that I have had the opportunity to enjoy over the years.
You’re still young and have a long career ahead of you… what is your number 1 goal coming out of lockdown?
My biggest goal isn’t that of the targets such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Championships. With this global pandemic it really gave me an opportunity to sit down and really search for my why and I realised my biggest goal needs to always be, enjoy what you are doing and continue living through all the moments that are good and bad but remaining in the here and now.
So much can change in the future as we have found out, so you have to enjoy what you are going through every day.
We look forward to seeing Issa’s progress over the coming months and fingers crossed, himself and his team can secured that place to Olympics games and we support him along the way.