A HOPE teenager is preparing to jet off to Canada to represent Great Britain at the first-ever women’s under-25 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
Madeleine Thompson, of Castleton Road, will be part of the national squad heading to North America in July to compete in the inaugural competition, just weeks after helping GB Women claim their first-ever BT Paralympic World Cup gold in Manchester.
And the busy 16-year-old Lady Manners School pupil, who has been juggling training and competitions with her GCSE exams, is relishing the challenge of facing top nations such as America and Australia in the forthcoming campaign.
“I think we have a good chance of reaching the semi-finals and possibly the finals. We have got a tough pool to come out of first, but definitely with our experience we should do well,” explained Maddie, who’s right leg was amputated soon after birth.
“It was a great privilege to be part of the GB Women’s team which won gold last month at the Paralympic World Cup. There was a fantastic atmosphere, and the squad has definitely made the step up since the World Championships. The team is really starting to gel and believe in itself.”
GB coach Garry Peel said: “At the age of 16, Maddie is the youngest athlete in our squad and has a great future in wheelchair basketball and you can see that she fully lives her life for basketball.”
No sooner will Maddie return from GB duty, than she will head back to Canada, this time with her club Sheffield Steelers, to compete in the Spitfire Challenge - one of the world’s most prestigious club tournaments. After that, she will turn her attentions to the European Championships in Israel later this year, but her ultimate goal is to make it into the GB Women’s team for London 2012.
“I am intending to do two Paralympics, but I would also like to become a major player with the GB squad. Taking part in a home Paralympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she added.