Daily Egyptian

Olympic hopeful Meg Viggars sets for Salukis

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

After being the last person cut from the Great Britain national team for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saluki junior hitter and setter Meg Viggars is now one of the Salukis’ top performers.

As a native of Stoke-on-Trent, England, Viggars was one of 20 players trying to make the 12-player Great Britain Olympic roster in 2012. Returning home in hopes of playing in the 2016 Olympic games is unlikely for Viggars, as Great Britain’s funding for the national volleyball team has been cut. Meg’s father, Anthony Viggars said UK Sport, who supply funding, have a policy of only financing sports that can demonstrate they have a realistic medal chance.

“[Great Britain] has a lot of girls playing in the U.S. right now,” Viggars said. “A lot of girls are improving, hopefully the Great Britain National Sport government will look at us and see that — then give us some money.”

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Viggars was 17 years old when she was training with the Olympic squad. Anthony coached Meg most of her life and said she was a minor celebrity in the months leading up to the Olympics in London. Viggars remained on call as a reserve for the Olympic team — if either of the setters on the roster got hurt, she would be contacted. She never received a call, even though she had been practicing most of her life. 

Under the tutelage of her father, Viggars started her national career at the age of 13 competing for her country. She traveled to many countries in Europe, often competing with and against players four years older than she was. She traveled to Australia for an 18-under Youth Olympics beach volleyball event when she was 14. 

“We were playing a lot older than what we should have been,” Viggars said. “At least I got a good tan out of it.”

While training with the Olympic team in England, Viggars learned about collegiate volleyball from teammate Savanah Leaf. Leaf played for the University of Miami from 2011 to 2014.

Viggars got a late start to the recruiting process because of her training for the Olympic games. Her decision to attend SIU came halfway through fall semester in 2012.

This season, Viggars is second on the team in assists and total blocks, and third in attack efficiency and digs. 

“Versatile is the perfect word for Meg,” Coach Justin Ingram said. “She plays every position for us except middle hitter and libero. She is learning how to be a vocal leader of our offense.”

In three seasons at SIU — she has tallied 517 kills, 947 assists, 47 service aces, 693 digs and 212 total blocks.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @EvanJones_DE

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