Lesley Pilling

British Wheelchair Basketball announces the appointment of Diccon Edwards as its new Performance Director

A critical appointment for the National Governing Body, Edwards will be instrumental in driving forward the delivery of British Wheelchair Basketball’s ambitious Paris Strategy. 

He will oversee the facilitation of a strategy that aims to deliver complete system change across the sports high performance landscape; with a clear focus on developing more elite level coaches, identifying and developing a greater breadth and depth of wheelchair basketball talent, and embedding and developing positive cultures and behaviours throughout the GB Programme. Alongside this he will lead the GB teams in their journey to realise international medal successes through to Paris and Beyond.

Excellently qualified to lead this change programme and performance success, Edwards brings to the role extensive elite sport experience from both his professional career within UK Sport and The English Institute of Sport, as well as his accomplished Rugby Union and League playing career.  

His career includes roles as Paralympic Coach Advisor for UK Sport during the Rio 2016 cycle and into the Tokyo 2020 cycle, and most recently his current post as Head of Coach Development at UK Sport.

Edwards will take up post from 1st July 2022, as the GB Performance Programme focuses its training programme on the November World Championships and retaining the Men’s Title as well as securing a podium finish for the GB Women’s Team.

British Wheelchair Basketball CEO, Lisa Pearce commented on the appointment:

“This is a critical moment for our sport, and the appointment of an individual with Diccon’s experience within elite and para sport will be vital in effecting positive cultural change as well as delivering our medal targets. His extensive knowledge of the sector, and his personal experience of team sport and coaching will bring a unique perspective to the Performance Director role.

“The athletes and staff are all delighted to welcome Diccon to the team and are looking forward to working with him to realise the true potential of our sport both domestically and internationally.

On his appointment, Diccon Edwards said:

“It is a privilege to be offered the opportunity to lead the Performance programme and build on the recent successes within the sport. We have a clear vision and strategy to be the leading Wheelchair Basketball nation, to both grow and develop the player pathway and achieve consistent medal success and I am excited to be able to play a part in the future with the team of players and staff”

NEW BRITISH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE TO BE BROADCAST LIVE

British Wheelchair Basketball has today announced that the BBC will show eight games live across the inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League. The British Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Premier League will be the first of its kind for women’s wheelchair basketball, and the very first female professional para-sport league in the UK.

The season will begin in January 2022, with Cardiff Met Archers, East London Phoenix, Loughborough Lightning and Worcester Wolves competing for the title. All matches are to be broadcast, either live on the BBC’s digital platforms or through British Wheelchair Basketball’s YouTube channel.

The deal to show the first ever professional para-sport league in the UK is important to ensure disability representation, and for building on the momentum of the Tokyo Paralympics to encourage more disabled people see a pathway for them in sport. Bringing the sport to home audience’s outside of the Paralympic and Commonwealth Games will increase para-sport visibility more than ever before, this time with a new focus on domestic competition.

Lisa Pearce, British Wheelchair Basketball’s Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted to announce the BBC as the broadcaster for the inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League. Wheelchair Basketball is an incredible sport, and it is really important to us that as many people as possible are able to experience the thrill of the game – many for the first time ever as a domestic competition.

“The Paralympics captures the attention of the nation every four years, and we want to build on the brilliance of our elite athletes to showcase wheelchair basketball more frequently. With the new Women’s Premier League, the BBC broadcast commitment will help to profile elite women’s sport and create more opportunities for people to play across all levels.

“The teams include an exciting variety of world-class, established international players and up-and-coming talent, and thanks to the support of the BBC more people than ever will be able to watch the action unfold.”

Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport said:

“This is a significant moment not just for Wheelchair Basketball but for British Paralympic sport as a whole. I’m delighted the BBC is supporting one of our most exciting and dynamic Paralympic sports and helping to showcase some of the best athletes in the world in action.

We are on a mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation and achieving that will only be possible by making Olympic and Paralympic sport more accessible to the British public more often.

I look forward to watching the league develop and I’m sure we’ll also see the emergence of the next generation of role models who can inspire more people to take up this exciting sport.”

Fixtures and broadcast details for the British Wheelchair Basketball Women’s Premier League: 

22/01/2022       13:00    Worcester Wolves v Loughborough Lightning – Live on BBC digital platforms

28/01/2022       19:00    East London Phoenix v Cardiff Met Archers – Live on YouTube

12/02/2022       16:30    East London Phoenix v Loughborough Lightning – Live on YouTube

12/02/2022       15:15    Cardiff Met Archers v Worcester Wolves – Live on YouTube

19/02/2022       16:30    East London Phoenix v Worcester Wolves – Live on YouTube

19/02/2022       18:00    Loughborough Lightning v Cardiff Met Archers – Live on YouTube          

26/02/2022       13:00    Worcester Wolves v East London Phoenix – Live on YouTube

26/02/2022       13:00    Cardiff Met Archers v Loughborough Lightning – Live on BBC digital platforms

05/03/2022       13:00    Worcester Wolves v Cardiff Met Archers – Live on YouTube

05/03/2022       16:30    East London Phoenix v Loughborough Lightning – Live on BBC digital platforms

19/03/2022       13:00    Cardiff Met Archers v East London Phoenix – Live on YouTube                     

02/04/2022       18:00    Loughborough Lightning v Cardiff Met Archers – Live on BBC digital platforms

03/04/2022       12:00    Worcester Wolves v East London Phoenix – Live on BBC digital platforms

09/04/2022       13:00    Cardiff Met Archers v Worcester Wolves – Live on YouTube

09/04/2022       18:00    Loughborough Lightning v East London Phoenix – Live on YouTube          

30/04/2022       18:00    Loughborough Lightning v Worcester Wolves – Live on BBC digital platforms

30/04/2022       13:00    East London Phoenix v Cardiff Met Archers – Live on BBC digital platforms

07/05/2022       18:00    Loughborough Lightning v Worcester Wolves – Live on YouTube

14/05/2022       15:00    Play offs / finals – Live on BBC digital platforms

To find out more, visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/womens-premier-league.

BWB Policies Update

British Wheelchair Basketball continually reviews its policies and procedures to ensure we are implementing strong governance across the sport. The following three British Wheelchair Basketball Policies have been updated and the new versions of the policies are now live on the BWB website. A summary of changes are as follows, but are also highlighted in the individual policies as well:

Data Privacy Notice: Addition of UKAD anti-doping compliance data retention and application.

Codes of Conduct: Addition of BWB Anti-Doping Policy (page 2) and updated anti-doping professional standards.

Eligibility and Classification Policy: Changes include additions to section 4.3 and the process for changing a classification, with the addition of:

  • 4.3.2 Observation in a club or competition environment
  • 4.3.3 Instigated by British Wheelchair Basketball

The updated documents can be viewed here.

You do not need to do anything, the changes to the Policies will come into immediate effect and are available via both our online system and the BWB website.

Statement about European Championships 2021

This morning, the GB Men’s Team have made the difficult decision to forfeit their 2021 European Championship Gold medal game due to be played later today.

As defending Champions this has been a tremendously hard decision that the team has collectively reached. The Team’s priority remains to safeguard the health and wellbeing of not only the GB athletes and staff members, but also of the wider competition community at the 2021 European Championships in Madrid.

Following a confirmed COVID-19 case within the squad this morning, the team member will now undergo 10 days of isolation in Spain.

Throughout the tournament, British Wheelchair Basketball has given all players and staff members the opportunity to return home, should they have any concerns about Covid-19.

British Wheelchair Basketball has consistently prioritised the health and wellbeing of its players and they return home with the full support of the organisation

BWB Announces GB Men and Women’s Squads ahead of the 2021 European Championships

Taking place just four months after the GB teams returned from the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, the Championships will take place in Madrid between the 4th to the 12th December 2021.

The men’s team, captained by Lee Manning, will see Gaz Choudhry again adopt a player/coach role working with the on-court GB Coaching team of Haj Bhania OBE (Head Coach) and Simon Fisher (Assistant Coach). The squad line up also see’s World Championship Gold Medallist’s Martin Edwards, Simon Brown, Kyle Marsh and Phil Pratt return to GB duty.

The women’s team will see 2019 U25 World Championship Bronze Medallists Jade Atkin and Niamh Horan make their senior squad debut. Head Coach of the GB Women’s Coaching team at the Championships will be three-time Paralympian and established GB programme coach Steve Caine. Assisting Steve in Madrid will be Loughborough Lightning Wheelchair Basketball’s new Head Coach and GB World Champion George Bates, as GB Women’s Assistant Coach.

The GB Men will commence their European Championships Campaign on the 4th December when they face Israel as their opening game in Group B. Twelve men’s teams will be competing in the 2021 European Championships in two pools (A & B). GB Men’s wheelchair basketball team have a rich history at the European Championships taking the title three times in a row, and the regaining the title in Poland at the 2019 competition.

The GB Women begin their European Championships campaign on 5th December when they face France. Europe is undoubtedly one of the strongest wheelchair basketball zones in the world, including the Netherlands who GB have faced in the finals at both the 2018 World and 2019 European Championships.

Following today’s Squad Announcement British Wheelchair Basketball Performance Director, Jayne Ellis commented:

“Undoubtedly this has been a unique and challenging 12 months in our international competition calendar – never before have we had to prepare the GB senior teams for two major internationals within six months of one another.

“In Tokyo our GB teams showed the world their grit and determination. Today, I am once again so tremendously proud of this group of incredible, focused and passionate athletes who will represent our nation in Madrid. I continue to be in awe of their dedication and talent, and their sheer determination to deliver world-class performances at the European Championships in December.”

Schedule available at: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/major-competition-hub/

GB Women’s Team

#4 Charlotte Moore (1.0)

#5 Sophie Carrigill (1.0)

#6 Kayla Bell (1.0)

#7 Helen Freeman (4)

#8 Laurie Williams (2.5)

#9 Jude Hamer (4)

#12 Lucy Robinson (4.5)

#14 Joy Haizelden (2.5)

#15 Robyn Love (3.5)

#16 Jade Atkin (4.5)

#17 Niamh Horan (3)

GB Men’s Team

#4 Gaz Choudhry (4.0)

#5 Simon Brown (2.0)

#6 Kyle Marsh (2.0)

#7 Terry Bywater (4.5)

#9 Harry Brown (2.5)

#10 Abdi Jama (1.0)

#11 Phil Pratt (3.0)

#12 Gregg Warburton (2.0)

#14 Lee Manning © (4.5)

#15 Ben Fox (3.5)

#16 Jim Palmer (1.0)

#17 Martin Edwards (4.0)

RETURN TO PLAY – STAGE 4 UPDATE

Further to the recent news that COVID-19 precautionary measures are once again to be strengthened British Wheelchair Basketball has taken the decision to make the wearing of face masks mandatory by all participants other than those who are actively participating on-court, this includes officials, coaches, team bench personnel and spectators.  

We are also asking that any participant that has been in contact with a household member who either has COVID-19 symptoms (and not yet had a negative PCR test) or has tested positive from COVID-19 does not attend training or competition.

We have always adopted a cautionary approach with regards to our Return to Play Guidance and have been clear that our priority is the health and wellbeing of all our participants within the wheelchair basketball community.

Updated Stage 4 Guidance and Matrix documents, as well as an updated Participant Risk Assessment can be found on the BWB Website COVID-19 Section.

Choudhry shortlisted for 2021’s greatest coaching moment

GB player and three-time Paralympian, Gaz Choudhry, has been shortlisted for 2021’s greatest coaching moment, after taking on the role as player-coach at this summer’s Paralympic Games. The move came after the GB Head Coach Haj Bhania tested positive to Covid-19 prior to the Games and was unable to travel.

Under Gaz’s leadership the GB Men’s team delivered a stunning on court performance in Tokyo, showcasing drama and outstanding wheelchair basketball. He powered the team to consistently deliver win after win, laying down nail-biting second halves against the USA, Canada and Australia which had fans of the sport mesmerised.

British Wheelchair Basketball CEO Lisa Pearce is delighted with Gaz’s well-deserved selection for the Great Coaching Moment of the Year Shortlist:

“The GB men’s team demonstrated the grit and fierce determination that has seen this squad show to the world how powerful great on-court leadership is, and what can be achieved by a united and driven team.

“In the year where anything that can happen, will happen – Gaz without hesitation took a great responsibility on his shoulders to represent his nation and lead his team at a unique and historic Paralympic Games. Undoubtedly this resulted in one of the greatest coaching moments of the year and is a true inspiration to us all.”

The Great Coaching Moment Award is open to public vote and the winner will be announced at next month’s UK Coaching Awards. The award focuses not only on the material successes of coaches but on how they ground their work in putting people first.

On being selected for the shortlist, Choudhry said:

“It’s an absolute honour and privilege to be nominated for such a prestigious award. It’s incredible to be included in the great achievements of the other coaches, especially after the fantastic year of sport that we’ve had.

“Sport has the power to change lives and coaches have a huge role to play in that. I’m humbled and really gracious for the nomination. It’s testament to the achievements of the whole team, not just those selected for the Paralympics, but the entire squad and the support staff too – so thank you.”

To vote for your greatest coaching moment, visit www.ukcoaching.org/gcm-2021. The public vote will close on Monday 6 December.

Worcester Wolves Name Simon Fisher as Head Coach to Spearhead Women’s Premier League Campaign

The former British Wheelchair Basketball Academy Lead and Interim Women’s Coach for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been appointed as the Head Coach of the Worcester Wolves’ new women’s wheelchair basketball premier league team.

Simon Fisher, a qualified wheelchair basketball and basketball (running game) coach, has a rich basketball pedigree, working with Basketball England’s national teams as Head Coach of England U16s from 2007 to 2011 and then England U17s Coach from 2011 to 2014. During his time with the U16s, Fisher was the first coach to lead an England age group team to promotion to Division A.

He has also played an integral part of the British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB) coaching set up. Simon joined BWB in 2014 as Talent Development Officer, progressing to Academy Lead in January 2018. Alongside this, he was the GB Men’s Team Manager when they won the World title at the 2018 World Championships, as well as Silver and Gold respectively at the 2017 and 2019 European Championships.

In March of this year, Simon was named as Interim Head Coach of the GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team and led them at the re-scheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

In 2018, he was also Head Coach of the Wales Under 16’s National side.

As Head Coach, Simon will now lead the new women’s wheelchair basketball premier league side at the Worcester Wolves, which has already announced a fantastic line-up of players.

“I have close ties to the West Midlands region through Basketball, as a coach and administrator, in which time I have developed respect for the Wolves organisation, therefore, to have the chance to work with them, as well as the local community, athletes and students to develop Wheelchair Basketball is exciting,” he said. “It is with immense pleasure and pride to have the honour of being the inaugural Head Coach for Worcester Wolves.”

Worcester Wolves Managing Director Mick Donovan said he was very excited to have Simon Fisher as the team’s Head Coach.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Simon to the Worcester Wolves,” he said. “He has an outstanding reputation for his contribution in all forms of the game at all levels. As well as Head coach of the High Performance Partnership team, Simon will bring so much more to the club and we believe that he will have a great impact throughout our basketball programme.”

The League will be the first of its kind for women’s wheelchair basketball in the world, and the very first professional para-sport league in the UK.

The University of Worcester will be one of four High-Performance Partnerships, which also include Cardiff Metropolitan University, Loughborough University and the University of East London, that will each be home to a women’s premier league team.

The club will be making further announcements over the coming weeks. Keep up to date with all things Worcester Wolves across their social media channels and website.

For more information about the new Women’s Premier League, visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/womens-premier-league.

Press Release: University of Worcester

To find out more about BWB’s High Performance Partnerships, including athlete study and playing opportunities, visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/womens-premier-league.