Former Kirkcaldy pupil’s volley good show

Mark McGivern in action for ASUL Lyon in the Ligue A promotion play-off match against Asnieres.
Mark McGivern in action for ASUL Lyon in the Ligue A promotion play-off match against Asnieres.
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A VOLLEYBALL player who grew up in Kirkcaldy has clinched a dream promotion playing for a professional team in France.

Mark McGivern (30), who starred for Team GB in last year’s London Olympics, was part of the ASUL Lyon side that won promotion to Ligue A - one of Europe’s top volleyball leagues.

Mark played a key role as he and his Lyon team-mates emerged victorious from Sunday’s play-off finals, having finished the season as runners-up in Ligue B.

Mark told the Press: “It was a fantastic feeling to win the final match.

“We worked hard for this all season and for us to reach our season’s goal, which was to gain promotion to the top league, was just an incredible feeling.”

Volleyball is much bigger in France than compared to the UK. There are two full time professional leagues with both mens and womans divisions.

Mark explained: “We regularly have 1000 supporters at our home games and in the play-offs we had around 1600.

“It’s a little bit different from when I played with Team Fife where we had two or three people watching from the balcony in the Fife Institute!”

Mark first took up volleyball while he was a pupil at St Andrews High School in Kirkcaldy.

After taking part in a friendly tournament set up by the school, Mark was asked to join Team Fife, and he started playing with their second team in the third division.

Mark was soon moved into the first team before being asked to attend Scottish national team training.

From then his career blossomed as he went on to play for top Scottish sides City of Edinburgh and Glasgow Ragazzi, before relocating to Sheffield to train full-time with the GB team.

He has since played professionally in the Netherlands, Belgium and now France. The highlight of Mark’s career arrived last summer when he won his 100th cap for Team GB in the London Olympics.

“I was lucky enough to get selected to be part of Team GB and represent our country at the Olympic games, which was such an honour,” he added.

“The feeling of playing the sport I love at the world’s biggest sporting event is a feeling that I will never forget.

“My experiences in London last year will live with me until I am very old.”