Basketball ace nets Paralympics place

Maddie Thompson, GB ladies wheelchair basketball squad
Maddie Thompson, GB ladies wheelchair basketball squad

HOPE Valley wheelchair basketballer Maddie Thompson is to make her Paralympic debut at the age of just 17 after being chosen to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 games.

Thompson (pictured left), from Hope, who has been a regular GB team-member since 2009, was named on Monday in coach Garry Peel’s young 12-strong women’s wheelchair basketball squad.

And she admits she can’t wait for the chance to make her bow in London as Britain seek to improve on the team’s performance in Beijing where they finished eighth.

“This will be my first ever Paralympics, it’s amazing to have it at home,” said Thompson. “To be 17 and going to the Paralympics is absolutely amazing. We do a lot of psychology work but I’m not really a nervous player, I’m just looking forward to it.

“We’ve got the chance to take on some similar teams on a tour to the USA before London. We’ll play the Americans and a very strong Canada team so that will be good for us. We need to get lots of shooting practice in.”

Great Britain were recently in action at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, where they took on the three medallists from the last Paralympics – Australia, Germany and the USA – the latter twice, losing each game to surrender their title won a year ago.

But, despite the disappointing results, Thompson insists they learned a lot from taking on the globe’s finest, and are on the right track with now less than 100 days to go before the start of the London games.

“We played against the three best teams in the world so we couldn’t have asked for a better tournament to prepare,” she added.

“It was great that they wanted to play us. The best teams in the world want to play Great Britain now.”

The BT Paralympic World Cup took place in Manchester from May 22-26 May. Go to www.btparalympic for more details.