Monday, 02 December 2013
The countdown is on for one of the most high profile international sporting events ever to be staged in Worcester, and one man likely to be at the centre of the action admits that it is already an exciting prospect.
The University of Worcester Arena will host the 2015 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships, and has this year taken on the mantle of host city following the completion of the 2013 tournament, which was held in Frankfurt.
That competition finished in glorious triumph for Great Britain – the men’s team edged a tense final against Turkey to claim gold, while the women comfortably defeated France in their bronze medal match.
Both British teams are sure to be among the favourites going into Worcester 2015, and Kyle Marsh – one member of the team which triumphed in Frankfurt – believes that the support and enthusiasm of a home crowd, coupled with the impressive surroundings of the University Arena, will only help his side as they bid to retain their title.
“The fact that the 2015 European Championships are being held in Worcester is really important to get people in this country behind this great sport,” he explains.
“I have been to the University Arena and I like it a lot – it’s one of the best facilities we have played in, it is well-equipped and it has all the things needed to be considered a world-class venue.”
As well as being the host venue for the 2015 European Championships, the University Arena will serve as the training base for the Great Britain teams in the lead up to future major competitions, including the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Wheelchair basketball is already a sport in which Britain has plenty of pedigree – the success in Frankfurt was the fifth time that the British men have been crowned European champions, whilst they also won the inaugural World Championships, back in 1973.
After the tremendous exposure given to disabled sports at the London 2012 Paralympics, Marsh is now hopeful that the University Arena can play its part in increasing both the sport’s popularity and British success.
"The sport is growing, both in terms of participation and the amount of people wanting to watch the sport, mainly due to the extra coverage it received during the Paralympics,” he says.
“The University Arena can help this in terms of grass roots development all the way through to the Great Britain senior teams – it will be a central venue for the GB team, a home from home for us as we look to train and prepare for future tournaments.”