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Scottish volleyball star a student in Copenhagen

Olympic hopes has student training 20 hours a week in a sports centre in Holte, Copenhagen

A full time Master’s course in one of the elite programmes at the University of Copenhagen can be tough enough. But for one student, there is more.

Anneka Hastings is packing in 10-20 hours of training, and hoping to qualify for the British national volleyball team at the upcoming London Olympics.

»I’m focussing a lot on volleyball these days because of the upcoming Olympics. But I will eventually return to research,« she vows.

See a gallery of her in competition here.

Olympic hopes

She follows a programme in human biology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, something that she has always »really wanted to study,« she says.

Volleyball at the elite level requires many hours of practice a day and Anneka gladly obliges, adding to this gruelling training a 45 minute commute out to training on the train every day.

She is currently playing for the domestic league in Denmark, but hopes to return to Scotland in summer to play on the international front, hopefully qualifying for the select UK Olympic team.

Inspired by gym teacher

Anneka was 12 years old when her gym teacher in Edinburgh, Scotland, gathered students to form a local team.

»I got lucky with volleyball«, says Anneka. »My gym teacher was a volleyball player herself and she decided to form a team with us. Otherwise I would probably not have had the exposure to the game«, she explains.

Anneka (25) has now been playing for thirteen years. She has been on the UK national team since she was 17 years old. It is from this team that the Olympic team will be selected.

Knee surgery

At present she is still recovering from a complex surgery, a so-called ACL reconstruction of her knee.

It takes time to heal. But there is no letting up on the training.

She can practice, and can train for most things, but can’t yet jump.

Team motivates her

Being on a team is her main motivation to constantly strive harder. Her dream moment to date was winning the Danish cup final for her Danish club Holte IF in 2009.

She smiles as she talks about her teammates.

»It is a different kind of relationship, when you constantly fight for each other and push each other to do better. Not many people understand it!«

See a gallery of her in competition here.

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