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Mark Bennett reflects on his Olympic glory

Published 15/08/2016

Mark Bennett says he will treasure the silver medal he won with Team GB at the Rio Olympics
Mark Bennett says he will treasure the silver medal he won with Team GB at the Rio Olympics

Glasgow centre Mark Bennett admits his cannot wait to show off the rewards of his Olympic experience.

The 23-year-old was part of the Team GB line-up which won a silver medal in the rugby sevens contest in Rio.

The Brits battled past big-gun opponents South Africa and New Zealand to reach the final but found their hopes of striking gold in Brazil ended by Fiji's sharp shooters in the final.

But despite the disappointment of a bruising 43-7 defeat, Bennett can still look on his prize with pride.

The Scotland XV-a-side international told the Warriors website: "Ten weeks ago if you said I could have a silver medal I would have bitten your arm off for it so I'm absolutely delighted.

"The day after we'd won it I did an interview on TV and one of my friends took a picture of it. Underneath me it said 'Mark Bennett, Silver Medallist'.I read it and thought to myself, 'That's pretty cool'.

"The number of messages I've had from everyone has been mental. The support has been great.

"This has to be one of my career highlights and is something that'll live long in the memory.

"There's plenty of time to try and eclipse it still which is exciting.

"I'm not going to lie I've had to take the medal off a few times as it's very heavy. That sounds ridiculous but it gets sore on your neck after a while.

"The day after we won we were doing some media interviews and as soon as anyone got a glimpse of the medal they were asking for a picture of it. They weren't interested in us they just wanted to see the medal itself. That was when I realised just how important they are.

"It'll be a nice thing to do to show it off if people want to see it once I'm back."

Bennett admitted his side could not always count on the support of the Braziallin public during their march to the final but enjoyed the atmosphere round the athletes village, where he was able to mix with some of the biggest names in sport.

"The atmosphere at the stadium itself was incredible even though it wasn't full," he explained. "More often than not everyone was cheering against us which was quite good fun. We managed to build our own atmosphere off the back of that, with the aim of silencing them.

"The support we got in the village was brilliant as well. After our games when we were walking around everyone in Team GB kit would come up and say 'Well done lads, you really deserved that'. The amount of support we've had in here has been overwhelming.

"We've seen Usain Bolt and he was getting absolutely hounded for selfies. I felt a bit sorry for him as he was just trying to have his dinner. He couldn't get a minute of peace to eat. It's been great fun."

Bennett was nominated for World Rugby's breakthrough player of the year award after his displays for the Dark Blues at last year's World Cup but even he had to admit there was no stopping the rampant Fijians as they South Sea Islanders claimed their nation's first ever Olympic medal..

Up against the likes of former Warriors team-mate Leone Nakarawa, Team GB found themselves outscored seven tries to one.

Bennett said: "There's nothing you can do to stop Leone when he gets going. I tried to get one tackle on him and he got a big fend on me while throwing the ball away to a team-mate.

"I'm delighted for him that he won gold as they thoroughly deserved it. I saw him afterwards and we swapped shirts which was nice."

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