HOPE Valley’s Maddie Thompson is set to make her Paralympic debut as the youngest player on Great Britain women’s wheelchair basketball team.
Maddie, 17, from Hope, is a member of the 12-strong squad that will begin its quest for gold at the London 2012 games tomorrow (Thursday) in their opening match against the Netherlands.
The GB ladies team will also play Australia, Brazil and Canada in the preliminary stages, as they bid to improve on their eighth-place finish in Beijing four years ago.
Maddie, a single-leg amputee, said: “The whole experience will be just amazing.
“Competing in London in front of home crowds will give us a huge advantage. I can’t wait. I’m so excited.”
The Sheffield Steelers club player became the youngest to represent the GB team at the under-22 European Championships in Turkey in 2008 when she was just 13.
Classified as a 4.5 player, Maddie went on to be selected for the senior GB team at the 2009 European Championships – returning with a bronze medal.
Maddie was also part of the team that finished sixth at the 2010 World Championships in Birmingham and has represented GB at every BT Paralympic World Cup since 2009, being part of a successful campaign in 2011, when the team won gold.
Recently, Maddie helped GB to a bronze medal at the Under-25s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Canada, losing out only to eventual winners America and runners-up Australia.
Dad Gary added: “We are all very proud of her. She is really looking forward to it. This is the pinnacle of what she has been working towards for all these years.”
Representing Great Britain in cycling will be Paralympic gold medal-winning couple Sarah and Barney Storey, from Disley, along with Chapel-en-le-Frith-born Anthony Kappes.