Today the ParalympicsGB named the 24 athletes who will represent Great Britain in Wheelchair Basketball at Tokyo 2020, for both the men and women’s teams.
The team announcement saw both squads come together to celebrate the selection announcement at Loughborough University, where the teams have been preparing for the Games within strictly controlled training camp environments.
The GB Wheelchair Basketball Teams are currently ranked number 1 and 2 in the world for the men and women’s teams respectively.
Both team selections feature a number of world-renowned wheelchair basketball players within their rosters as well as emerging stars of the game who will be representing their nation for the first time at a Paralympic Games.
The GB Men’s Squad, captained by two-time Paralympian Barnsley’s Ian Sagar, features eight of the history making 2018 World Championship team including the tournament’s voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) Gregg Warburton. Legend of the sport Terry Bywater’s selection will see him representing Great Britain at his sixth Paralympic Games and Liverpool’s Abdi Jama will make his fourth Paralympic appearance.
Alongside these athletes 2018 World Championship Gold medallists Jim Palmer and James MacSorley and 2017 Junior World Championship Gold Medallists Billy Bridge, Lewis Edwards and Ben Fox who will each be making their Paralympic Games debut. Copa del Rey 2021 Champions BSR Amiab Albacete teammates and 2018 World Champions Harry Brown, Lee Manning and Gaz Choudhry (MVP of Copa del Rey final) complete the men’s team line up for Tokyo.
The Women’s Team, co-captained by Maddie Thompson and Amy Conroy, sees Watford’s Helen Freeman selected for her fourth Paralympic Games appearance. The GB Women’s Team has experienced a period of unprecedented success following the Rio Paralympics, claiming silver medals at both the 2018 World and 2019 European Championships. Eleven athletes from these history making squads feature in the Tokyo selection announcement.
Established senior squad members Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Kayla Bell will be making their first appearance at a Paralympic Games in Tokyo, they will be joined by Lucy Robinson whose selection will be her senior GB team debut. Tokyo selection marks a second Games for Rio teammates Sophie Carrigill, Charlotte Moore, Joy Haizelden and Robyn Love. These talented athletes will be joined by Laurie Williams and Jude Hamer for their third Paralympics, both having competed in Rio and London.
The Men’s Team is coached by internationally acclaimed wheelchair basketball performance coach, Haj Bhania OBE, British Wheelchair Basketball’s Head of Coaching and Tactical Development. The Women’s squad coach for the Tokyo Paralympic Games is respected basketball and wheelchair basketball coach Simon Fisher.
The event also marks the launch of British Wheelchair Basketball’s Inspire a Generation Paralympic Legacy Open Events. These events are exclusively for British Wheelchair Basketball clubs (UK wide) and are designed to sign-post anyone inspired by the GB Wheelchair Basketball Team’s Tokyo Paralympics Campaign to find their local club and try the sport.
The events will take place across three weekends (clubs can sign up for one or multiple dates): 28th & 29th August 4th & 5th September 11th & 12th September. The events will be available UK wide, including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Clubs will be able to apply to deliver an event from Friday 2nd July with open events available for visitor registration from early August.
ParalympicGB’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Leader, and British Wheelchair Basketball Performance Director, Jayne Ellis commented on today’s selection announcement:
“Today is simply an incredible day for our sport but most of all for our remarkable athletes. There have been times when we may all have questioned or doubted whether this day would actually arrive, but today’s selection announcement is richly deserved.
“Throughout the last 18 months I have watched in awe as time and time again these dedicated athletes have gone above and beyond, giving their all to this sport, completely focused on their ambition to represent their nation in Tokyo. For some this has been through converting garages into home gyms, and for others this has been sacrificing weeks away from their loved ones and family so that they can attend GB training camps.
“Today’s selection news should also be credited to the selfless loved ones and families of our GB teams, this incredible support network is truly the team behind the team and their unwavering encouragement and support of our athletes should not go unrecognised.”
British Wheelchair Basketball’s Participation Director, Jo Richards added:
“The Paralympics signifies such an incredible moment in time for our sport. People who have never engaged with (or even heard of) wheelchair basketball become captivated by the teams’ journey.
“With Inspire a Generation we hope to offer opportunities for those individuals inspired by our fantastic athletes to register for a IAG Paralympic Legacy Open Event and get involved with their local club or sign up to an IAG community six-week wheelchair basketball course.
“The sport really is as much fun and exhilarating as it looks on court in Tokyo, and each of those athletes started their Paralympic journey within our UK Club network and inspired by the athletes who came before them. Everyone starts somewhere – inspire a generation offers opportunities for everyone to begin a wheelchair basketball journey.”
GB Women’s Team
#4 Charlotte Moore (1.0) Coventry
#5 Sophie Carrigill (1.0) Wakefield
#6 Michela Bell (1.5) Thatcham
#7 Helen Freeman (4.0) Watford
#8 Laurie Williams (2.5) Greater Manchester
#9 Jude Hamer (4.0) Exeter
#10 Amy Conroy (C) (4.0) Norwich
#11 Maddie Thompson (C) (4.0) Hope Valley
#12 Lucy Robinson (4.5) Leicestershire
#13 Siobhan Fitzpatrick (3.0) Coventry
#14 Joy Haizelden (2.5) Southampton
#15 Robyn Love (3.5) Ayr
GB Men’s Team
#4 Gaz Choudhry (4.0) Ealing
#7 Terry Bywater (4.5) Redcar, Middlesbrough
#9 Harry Brown (2.5) Halifax
#10 Abdi Jama (1.0) Liverpool
#12 Gregg Warburton (2.0) Leigh
#13 Ian Sagar (C) (3.0) Barnsley
#14 Lee Manning (4.5) Peterborough
#15 Ben Fox (3.5) Swindon
#16 Jim Palmer (1.0) Chelmsford
#17 James MacSorley (2.0) Belfast
#18 Billy Bridge (3.0) Ellesmere Port
#20 Lewis Edwards (3.0) Littlehampton
To find out more about the Inspire a Generation programme, or to become a Partner, visit www.inspireageneration.com.