British Wheelchair Basketball has announced the GB women’s squad for the 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which take place in Hamburg, Germany from 16-26 August.
The 12 athletes selected make up a youthful squad, with an average age of just 23. The players and support staff are quietly hopeful of finishing in the medals, building on their 5th place result four years ago.
The squad offers a powerful blend of youth and experience with nine of the 12 having represented Team GB at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, while 22-year-old Kayla Bell will be playing in her first ever major international tournament.
The team head into the World Championships in excellent form, winning the recent Lyon Wheelchair Basketball Competition without losing a game. Next up is the Continental Clash held in Sheffield this July, before the squad fly out to the World Championships in August. These major tournaments will provide essential experience for the squad on the road to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Miles Thompson, Head Coach of the GB Women’s team, comments: “Many of the athletes selected for the 2018 World Championships were part of the squad that won gold at the 2015 Women’s U25 World Championships in Beijing, so there is a very cohesive and confident feel to the team.
“Defensively this team is strong in understanding our half court and full court principles. Offensively the squad is getting better every day. By the time the World Championships come the GB women will be strong.
“The pool stage is a tough challenge. Our aim is to exit it with a high seed, so that the quarter final cross over is to GB’s advantage. We are in a strong pool, but we know if we play at our best we are a nightmare for all the other teams.”
There is a hugely exciting blend within the squad, from the leadership and experience of Helen Freeman, Maddie Thompson, Amy Conroy, Jude Hamer and Laurie Williams playing in their third World Championships, to future star of the game, 19-year-old Joy Haizelden, who loves the battles and fights within every possession.
Great Britain has three excellent finishers in its ranks; Leah Evans who is strong and fearless at the basket, Amy Conroy, GB’s most consistent scorer whose length and speed make her really dangerous and Robyn Love, a fierce rebounder whose scoring consistency is without doubt.
Sophie Carrigill, Charlotte Moore and Siobhan Fitzpatrick were key members of 2015 Women’s U25 World Championship winning squad, and each player will be hoping to bring the key ingredients of their success forward to this year’s senior championships.
The 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships take place in Hamburg, Germany from 16-26 August. Great Britain face reigning champions Canada, Spain, Brazil, Australia and the Netherlands in Pool A, with the top four teams from each pool qualifying for the quarter finals. The medal games will take place on Saturday 25 August.
To find out more about British Wheelchair Basketball please visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk
Photo caption: Rio 2016 – GB v NED – Laurie Williams. Credit: SA Images.