It was double delight for Sheffield Hallam University’s Wheelchair Basketball Club last month with the club picking up two awards at the University’s annual Team Hallam Sports Ball.
Sheffield Hallam Wheelchair Basketball Club won the ‘Team of the Year’ award during the virtual awards ceremony, while club member and World U25 and European U24 medallist Lucy Robinson was named the University’s ‘Sportswoman of the Year’.
The double success rounds-off a successful year for both the club and Lucy with Sheffield Hallam clinching their third consecutive BWB University Championships title in March, beating Brunel University by two points in a thrilling final.
For Lucy, the last 12 months have seen the 21-year-old excel both on and off the court; having taken part in her first senior overseas training camp earlier this year before recently graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a First Class degree in Primary Education.
The award is the latest recognition for Lucy, who began playing wheelchair basketball at Leicester Cobras at age 13.
“It means a lot to have been recognised and thought of when there are hundreds of female athletes from so many sports at the University who have had great successes this year,” Lucy said. “Sheffield Hallam is highly recognised for its sports and to finish my final year as Sportswoman of the Year and be part of the Team of the Year is a great honour and such a proud feeling.”
Lucy’s successes include helping Sheffield Hallam make history, becoming the first University to win three consecutive gold medals at the BWB University Championships.
With over 40 clubs fielding teams across Sheffield Hallam University, Club Chair and captain Gabriella Gordo reflects on the Team of the Year award with pride:
“After three years building the team and having such great success it’s such a great honour to be recognised for all our work by winning Team of the Year,” Gabriella said. “We’ve worked extremely hard to achieve everything we have, and we know that we’re lucky to be recognised by our university when so many aren’t, but should be.
“We’ve managed to build a team where we’re all genuinely friends and have such a great time when playing and competing together. This has all been years in the making and I’m just glad we were able to get a team together to achieve what we have.”
Success on and off the court
After becoming one of the first athletes to join the BWB Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (now known as DiSE) in 2015, Lucy has developed through the BWB pathway; claiming U24 European gold in 2018 and U25 World bronze in 2019.
“The sport has shaped me to be who I am,” Lucy said. “I feel a lot more confident in my life generally because of wheelchair basketball. It’s such a welcoming and friendly community, and there are so many amazing people involved in the sport, it’s really inspiring to hear their experiences. It’s just a great sport to be a part of.”
With the Tokyo Paralympic Games postponed until 2021 and Lucy beginning her Masters this Autumn, the 21-year-old is looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months have in store on and off the court.
“I think for me, when Tokyo was meant to be this year, I was enjoying learning and being part of the journey,” Lucy added. “I took every opportunity I could, worked as hard as I could, whilst planning lessons, teaching and completing assignments.
“I wanted to prioritise basketball but I knew my education had to come first, so for the Games to now be postponed to next year I have a lot more time and motivation to focus my energy onto being the best athlete and teammate I can be to be as prepared as I can for selections next year.
“I’m also continuing my studies, starting a Masters at the University of Sheffield so I’m excited to see what the next year brings on and off the court!”