BU Athlete: Issa Batrane Athlete Story
Written by: Jason Blackburn
It may not come as a surprise to learn that some of Britain’s most talented beach volleyballers hail from our seaside University, but Issa Batrane stands out even amongst our exceptional athletes. The reigning National Junior beach champion, Surrey-hailing Issa arrived at Bournemouth University having spent two years honing his skills at a local Volleyball Boarding school. From there, Issa has gone from strength-to-strength, achieving honor at u20, u21 and u22 level for Team GB including representing GB at the u21 World Championships. If you were left in any doubt regarding Issa’s caliber, you need only check the current UKBT Men’s Tour Rankings to see Issa ranked a national 5th, despite having competed in just 10 events this season, four events fewer than his direct rivals.
Issa has been representing Team GB since 2015, participating in the FIVB U21’s World Championships. Though success did not come immediately, the foundations were laid for Issa and long-term partner Harry Jones to become the fully-fledged machine that would later win three consecutive Weymouth Opens. Indeed, just one year later, Batrane and Jones would become the first British pair to advance from the group stages in the World u21 Championships in Lucerne. The pair continued their fine work with a top 20 finish at the 2017 u22 European Championships, held in Badern, Austria, the first English pair to accomplish this feat. Remarkably, rather than being pleased with their accomplishment, Issa left the tournament disappointed not to have broken into the top 10, Issa has not just been an elite athlete within his field, he, alongside Jones, have laid the groundwork for a new generation of British Volleyballer’s to build upon what they have already accomplished.
Like every young athlete, Issa has had to cope with his share of dips in form, injuries and the delicate balancing act of studying and training, however Issa’s mental strength in the face of this adversity and calm demeanour have always remained unimpeachable, with his recent shortlisting in the ‘most determined’ category for the 2019 TASS awards a testament to this fact. Issa’s interests outside of his fledgling career as an athlete include his passion for technology; indeed he hopes that his Business Information Technology degree will lead to a career in digital following his Volleyball career.
Issa’s success has been near-constant, and his star shows no sign of fading, with him having recently won the Weymouth UK Beach Tour for a record-breaking 3rd consecutive time, taking home the tournament MVP award in the process. It seems inevitable that Issa will continue to represent and excel for Team GB, and it is even more remarkable that he has accomplished this while dedicating himself to his Business Information Technology degree, having submitted his thesis and dazzled at the Weymouth Open within a fortnight of one another, Issa can next turn his attention to breaking into the Olympic set up, with his dream of representing his country in Tokyo 2020 within his grasp and his strong performance within his degree standing him in good stead for when the time comes to leave the sand behind.