It's such an exciting time for the women's basketball set up in GB at the minute."

Siobhan Fitzpatrick

As weekends go this is definitely a big one on the British wheelchair basketball calendar, nationally and internationally.

Not only will we see the culmination of the domestic season as the top teams in the country battle it out for titles at the National Championships in Sheffield. But also the GB U25 women's team will be attempting to successfully defend the World Championships gold medal they won in 2015.

So Give Me Sport's Gemma-Louise Stevenson caught up with GB squad member Siobhan Fitzpatrick before the international action begins in Thailand for the GB women later today and she's eager to get on that basketball court, represent her country and compete against some of the best teams in the world. "For me anytime I get told that I'm representing my country it's a real-time special moment," she explained. 

"We've only known about selection for the past couple of months but it's a been a really exciting time being able to train with the group of twelve that have been selected and there are some new faces making their GB debuts which always excites me bringing new girls into the squad.

"I was in the 2015 squad that won the last junior World Championships back and as reigning champions, I think there is a slight bit of pressure for us to perform out there but I just can't wait to get started." 

Great Britain wheelchair basketball

An exciting time for the Women's Game
The past twelve months have given the women's game in this country many reasons to celebrate, starting with the senior GB team coming back from World Championships in Hamburg last August with a silver medal.

In Thailand this week, the GB junior women will face stiff competition from the start of the pool stages, and at some point in their campaign, unless there are a few shock results before that, they will no doubt have to take on and beat the powerhouse that is the USA to retain their title.

However, since the U25 World Championships began in 2011 there's never been one where we haven't seen GB make the final podium, earning bronze at the 2011 championships and gold in 2015 so they have a history of strong performances at the event.

And Fitzpatrick thinks this last year of international success in the women's game is a clear indicator of what the GB team can achieve in Thailand and beyond.

"I think from the senior team gaining silver way back in August just proves that this women's sport is going to go from strength to strength," the junior world and European champion told Give Me Sport Women.

Siobhan

"And there are actually five members of this junior U25 team that were part of that silver medal-winning senior team in Hamburg and that's going to bring so much experience on board and then help with the transition through to the senior team, who at the end of July will be attempting to qualify for Tokyo next year.

"It's such an exciting time for the women's basketball set up in GB at the minute."

The Ones to Watch
The GB squad attempting to retain the U25 World Championship title are made up of a perfect mix of debutants, returners to the sport, and experienced hands all of whom play week in, week out in the both domestic women's and national leagues so it makes it difficult to really pick just one to watch as all have individual skills that can make them standard.

But Fitzpatrick has given us a few ideas of the names we might be hearing a lot about over the next five days of competition.

Bethany Wheeler of London Titans is first on her list and Fitzpatrick describes her as "an absolute force to be reckoned with, a knockdown shooter and a strong offensive threat".

Sticking with the London based wheelchair basketball team another name she thinks we should look out for is Freya Levy. 

"She's made the squad after a bit of time away, she's actually played rugby for a couple of seasons so I'm really excited to have her back," Fitzpatrick explained. "Her game knowledge is phenomenal so it's pretty much like having a third coach within the team."

And the final name on GB's roster Fitzpatrick thinks you should look out for is Brooke Mottram from the Tees Valley Titans, who like Wheeler is a huge offensive threat and making her debut international GB appearance.

"She's really worked hard to be part of this team after missing out on selection preciously so she really deserved to make the team this time," Fitzpatrick explained.

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