Wheelchair basketball: Maddie Thompson commences countdown to Euros

EDITORIAL USE ONLY'Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson at the launch of The National Lottery Anniversary Run, the first event in the Olympic Stadium since the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium in east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 24, 2013. The five-mile mass participation run is being held in association with the London Borough of Newham, The National Lottery, the London Legacy Development Corporation and will be staged by Nova International on Sunday 21st July 2013. The event will give up to 10,000 members of the public the chance to follow in the footsteps of their sporting idols, running the final 300m to the Olympic Stadium finish line. Photo credit should read: Geoff Caddick/PA
EDITORIAL USE ONLY'Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson at the launch of The National Lottery Anniversary Run, the first event in the Olympic Stadium since the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium in east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 24, 2013. The five-mile mass participation run is being held in association with the London Borough of Newham, The National Lottery, the London Legacy Development Corporation and will be staged by Nova International on Sunday 21st July 2013. The event will give up to 10,000 members of the public the chance to follow in the footsteps of their sporting idols, running the final 300m to the Olympic Stadium finish line. Photo credit should read: Geoff Caddick/PA

HOPE Valley wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson says she has barely stopped since the dust settled on London 2012.

But she insists she wouldn’t have it any other way as she targets European glory this summer.

Thompson made her Paralympic bow in the capital last summer as Britain finished seventh yet, rather than dwelling on the Games, she was back in action for club side Sheffield Steelers just days after the closing ceremony.

The 18-year-old shows little signs of slowing down and was in action last week as Britain took on international opposition for the first time since the Paralympics in a five-match series with the Netherlands.

And, despite losing 5-0, Thompson believes the signs are good ahead of the European Championships at the end of June in Germany, even if she has barely had time to stop and gather her thoughts.

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.

“The Great Britain team has restarted now and we have three months until the European Championships and I am really looking forward to that.

“We played the Netherlands in a series and, with some new players and coaches although we lost, we came away with plenty of positives for the new team.

“We want to build on London and we are now looking towards Rio. We have a young squad but it will mature and it will gain all the necessary experience in time for Rio.

“We are hoping to get into the qualifiers for the World Championships so a medal would be nice at the Europeans and it is realistic so I don’t see why we can’t achieve it.”

Thompson made history back in 2008 when she became the youngest ever wheelchair basketball player to represent Great Britain at the Under-22 European Championships in Adana, Turkey.

And, despite still being in her teens, those past five years means Thompson is now one of the more experienced heads in a young squad – something she is relishing.

“Being 17 at a Paralympics was definitely a new thing to me and it was a bit of a shock when the selection was announced,” she added.

“But I was leader for the Great Britain team in 2011 so I don’t think age reflects too much in the coaches opinions.

“So although we have a lot of young players and even though I am young I am one of the most experienced, I am confident.”

Maddie was speaking at the launch of The National Lottery Anniversary Run, which will take place on Sunday, July 21.

Places are available via the National Lottery website.