Sitting Volleyball couple star on BBC quiz show
8th November 2017
A couple, who are keen Sitting Volleyball players, recently starred on the BBC quiz show Pointless. Helen and Mike Sole, who play for Essex Pirates, told the nation about their passion for the sport and even more impressively, found a pointless answer in the final round to take home the jackpot!
When Helen was asked about her interests, she explained to host Alexander Armstrong that she is a former GB Sitting Volleyball player and now plays for enjoyment.
“When I applied to go on the show, the form asked about your interests and I put down Sitting Volleyball,” says Helen. “They probably pick people with different things to talk about on the show as they always ask you about your hobbies. The only problem I had was when I was talking about all the places I had played, I couldn’t think of them, my mind went blank being on the spot!”
Although now playing for fun, Helen has represented Great Britain at Sitting Volleyball. The highlight of a brilliant career was playing for GB in the World Championships for a squad coached by Ian Legrand. She also represented her country in the European Championships and was a reserve for the Paralympic Games.
On their winning appearance on Pointless, which aired on October 6 and is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer, Helen promoted the sport by explaining that teams come from across the country to play at Kettering, in the Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix.
“I wanted to flag up Sitting Volleyball as it is a great game and no one has heard of it,” says Helen.
Each pair of contestants are given two chances of the show. The couple were eliminated in round one of their first show before winning the top prize in their second appearance – which meant Helen promoted Sitting Volleyball in two different episodes.
The couple were cool under pressure and Mike’s superb knowledge of Carry On films helped them take home the jackpot with a pointless answer at their first attempt.
“Winning was a complete surprise as when we watch the show at home we never come up with a pointless answer,” says Helen. “We had hoped to get past the first round and all we really wanted was to win the ‘coveted Pointless trophy’, so to also take home some money was unbelievable.”
Helen’s says that being on the show was a similar experience to playing in big Sitting Volleyball matches.
“It is equally as nerve wracking,” she says. “The butterflies beforehand are the same but similar to going on court, as soon as you start, you forget all that and get on with the business that you’re there for.”
As well as winning the quiz show together, Helen and Mike line up alongside their son, as all three play for Essex Pirates. The family are the perfect example of how Sitting Volleyball is a sport that inclusive for all.
“I first took my son Patrick along to play and Mike asked if he could come along too,” explains Helen. “The Sitting Grand Prix events at Kettering are like one big family getting together. There are new people and it is such a friendly atmosphere. Everyone wants to win but at the end everyone is shaking hands. Able bodied players are welcome and everyone is one is playing on a level playing field.”
Helen’s advice for those thinking about giving the sport a try?
“Come along and have a go! Don’t worry about trying something new – good things can always come out of it.”
After their success on Pointless – Helen and Mike are the perfect example of that!