Young athletes compete in wheelchair basketball junior league
Last weekend saw a full round of wheelchair basketball action all over the country in the Lord’s Taverners Junior League. Competitions took place in Scotland, Nottinghamshire, Berkshire, Yorkshire, Wales and Greater London. Each location held a round robin tournament between the three teams in each of the six competition pools.
Over 100 young people from 18 teams took part in the action at the weekend, which is the second round of competition in this year’s league. Only one more round will determine which teams will earn their places at the Junior League Finals held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this April.
The competing teams this weekend were: Lothian Phoenix Dragons, Lancaster Spinners, Lancaster Whirlers, London Titans, Aces Hawks, Northern Ireland, Jaguars, Aces Diamonds, Norwich Lowriders, Thames Valley Kings, Hampshire Hornets, Tornados, North Wales Knights, Coventry Wheelchair Basketball Academy (CWBA), Wolverhampton, RGK Tees Valley Titans, Sheffield Steelers and Wakefield Whirlwind.
The standard of competition was very strong, with some high-scoring matches. Highlights were CWBA winning 77-24 against the North Wales Knights, Jaguars emphatically beating Aces Diamonds 88-12 and a thriller that ended Sheffield Steelers 61-43 Wakefield Whirlwinds.
Six teams are still undefeated: Lancaster Whirlers, Jaguars, CWBA, Sheffield Steelers, London Allstars and Northern Ireland, all of whom will be looking to build on their impressive starts when they play the next round of fixtures on 10 - 11 March.
The Lord’s Taverners Junior League is considered by many to be vital to the talent development pathway for aspiring GB athletes. The impact of the League was clear to see at the 2016 Rio Paralympics with the majority of the Women’s GB team having honed their skills in the League. Many of the men’s Paralympic team also progressed through the League including Rio star and U23 GB Men’s Captain Gregg Warburton.
British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB) is the National Governing Body for wheelchair basketball in the UK, and the nation’s largest provider of regular physical activity for wheelchair users. Wheelchair basketball has been included in the Paralympics since 1960, and the GB Wheelchair Basketball teams have been the most successful British Olympic and Paralympic teams: Three silver medals (1960, 1964 & 1996) and five bronze medals (1960, 1968, 2004, 2008 & 2016).