Maddie part of Great Britain squad to face Europe’s best

Madeline Thompson from Hope, selected as the youngest member of the Great Britain Ladies Wheelchair Basketball team
Madeline Thompson from Hope, selected as the youngest member of the Great Britain Ladies Wheelchair Basketball team

Wheelchair basketball star Maddie Thompson has been selected to represent Great Britain at next month’s European Championships.

The Hope Valley teenager will be part of the squad who travel to Germany to take on the best the continent has to offer.

The 18-year-old will join a young team selected to build upon last year’s Paralympic success.

She said: “Since London we haven’t really finished training. On the first Sunday after the Paralympics I played my first game for Sheffield Steelers, so there wasn’t much rest but that is the sort of way I like it, I like to keep busy.”

Current European bronze medallists, Great Britain, head to Frankfurt for the start of the championships on June 28, with head coaches Nigel Smith and Joe Jayaratne having combined a strong mix of experience and fresh blood.

The squad has an average age of 24.

The team includes three new faces from that of London 2012, with 14-year-old Charlotte Moore joining Sophie Carrigill (19) and Kirsty Wallace (31) in making their European Championship debut.

GB women’s coach Nigel Smith said it was a challenge the whole squad were looking forward to.

She said: “It was very tough for us to narrow the squad down to the 12 players selected, but we feel they are the best players at this moment to help us achieve success in Frankfurt.

“We are looking forward to the European Championships as we believe that with the changes we have made over the last few months we can compete for a major medal although the tricky task of qualifying for the World Championships is never easy.”

Coach Joe Jayaratne added: “It was a really tricky selection process and, after a lot of discussion, we are happy that we have selected a team that will not only be competitive, but also has the scope to develop greatly, with the future in mind.

“Our first and main goal at the Europeans has to be to qualify for the World Championships next year and then, hopefully, to try to improve on our positioning relative to previous European campaigns.”

The team in full is: Amy Conroy (20, Norwich), Madeleine Thompson (18, Hope Valley, Derbyshire), Helen Turner (35, Chobham, Surrey), Judith Hamer (22, Exeter), Laurie Williams (21, Altrincham, Manchester), Sarah Grady (29, Ely, Cambridgshire), Clare Strange (33, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire), Sophie Carrigill (19, Wakefield), Charlotte Moore (14, Coventry), Kirsty Wallace (31, Fareham), Louise Sugden (28, Wokingham), Helen Freeman (23, Watford).