British Wheelchair Basketball has announced the GB men’s squad for the 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which will take place in Hamburg, Germany from 16-26 August.
The squad boasts vast experience including eight of the 12 athletes who represented ParalympicsGB at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio where the team returned home with a bronze medal.
The team head into the World Championships in excellent form, following a successful outcome at British Wheelchair Basketball’s recent Continental Clash at EIS Sheffield in which the GB men ended the tournament undefeated, with the final game against Canada streamed live on BBC Sport Online for the first time in the history of the tournament. Held a month before the start of the World Championships, the Continental Clash is seen as a vital preparation tournament for those nations competing, with teams taking the chance to work on different systems and line-ups.
Haj Bhania, Head Coach of the GB Men’s team, comments: “I believe that we have a strong team and our strength is that we are a squad of multi-skilled athletes which creates depth in the team and versatility in our style of play. This is a group of committed players that combine youth and experience and have the collective ambition to perform for Great Britain.”
On the challenge facing the team at the upcoming World’s, Bhania adds: “We’ve got a tough pool – undoubtedly the USA will be a very difficult team to face as the current Paralympic champions.”
The GB squad will be led by Phil Pratt, captaining the team for his first major international tournament at 24 years old. Phil will be supported by a group of experienced athletes in Gaz Choudhry, 33, a high impact scorer, Abdi Jama, 35, one of the best 1.0 players in the world who thrives in a competitive environment and Terry Bywater, 35 an internationally recognised scorer who will be competing at his fifth World Championships.
Adding depth to the forward line is Martin Edwards, who returned to the GB programme this year and has quickly worked his way back into the team.
Great Britain’s squad has a balanced feel to it, with its scoring prowess complemented by its defensive capabilities. Simon Brown is a quick, agile and committed defender who can create opportunities for the team both on and off the ball, while Lee Manning can impact the game and affect the opposition at either end with his intimidating size and speed.
One of the one’s to watch at the tournament will be Harry Brown, part of the 2011 GB squad that secured a European gold medal in Nazareth when he was just 17 years old. Brown is a multi-skilled player who can make the extraordinary look simple and easy. George Bates is another player who brings finesse to the game which, combined with his physicality, makes him a competitive team player.
Belfast-born James MacSorely is a new member of the GB men’s senior squad and a fantastic team player, Gregg Warburton is a committed and consistent 2.0 player who is always working to be at his best and Jim Palmer, the youngest member of the team at 21 years old, brings speed and agility with a selfless and team-driven approach.
The 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships take place in Hamburg, Germany from 16-26 August. Great Britain face 2014 World Championship runners-up USA, South Korea and Poland in Pool B. The medal games will take place on Saturday 26 August.
To find out more about British Wheelchair Basketball please visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Great Britain Squad:
Gaz Choudhry (Albacete Amiab) – Class 4.0 / Age 33
Simon Brown (Amiccaci) – Class 2.0 / Age 32
James MacSorely (Sheffield Steelers) – Class 2.0 / Age 23
Terry Bywater (Ilunion) – Class 4.5 / Age 35
George Bates (Sheffield Steelers) – Class 4.5 / Age 24
Harry Brown (Sheffield Steelers) – Class 2.5 / Age 24
Abdi Jama (Sheffield Steelers) – Class 1.0 / Age 35
Phil Pratt (Sheffield Steelers) – Class 3.0 / Age 24
Gregg Warburton (The Owls) – Class 2.0 / Age 21
Martin Edwards (The Owls) – Class 4.0 / Age 29
Lee Manning (Albacete Amiab) – Class 4.5 / Age 28
Jim Palmer (Rhine River Rhinos) – Class 1.0 / Age 21
Great Britain Fixtures (BST):
Fri 17 Aug – South Korea 19:45
Sun 19 Aug – USA 20:15
Mon 20 Aug – Poland 17:30
Tue 21 Aug – Men’s Cross Over Game – Time tbc
Wed 22 Aug – Men’s Quarter-Final – Time tbc
Fri 24 Aug – Men’s Semi-Final – either 13:30 or 18:00
Sun 26 Aug – Men’s Bronze Medal Match – 13:15
Sat 26 Aug – Men’s Final – 15:30
About the Sport:
Wheelchair basketball is fast paced game which is widely considered a blue ribbon Para sport. The GB national wheelchair basketball teams consist of twelve elite level athletes. The size of the court, duration of game, ball and hoop all match the popular game of basketball.
In international competition there are five players on court who must have a combined classification points total of 14.
To compete at elite level internationally players must be classified; Wheelchair basketball classification is based on the players' functional capacity to complete the wheelchair skills necessary to play – pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching. It is not an assessment of a player's level of skill, merely their functional capacity to complete the task. Players are then classified through points system between 1-4.5.
Further information about classification and the rules of wheelchair basketball are available at www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk.