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Worcester Students Help Great Britain into World Championship Knock-Out Stages

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Great Britain’s women’s wheelchair basketball team – captained by a University of Worcester student and based at the University Arena - has qualified for the knock-out phase of the 2014 World Championships in Canada after a strong showing in the group.

Miles Thompson’s team, who prepared for the tournament at the University Arena before flying out to Toronto last week, have made it through to the quarter-finals of the competition, where they will face the USA.

The team, led by Psychology student Sophie Carrigill, recorded group wins over Brazil, Japan and China, only falling to defeat against Paralympic champions Germany and hosts Canada.

Among those to have starred for Great Britain during the group stage are Jude Hamer and Maddie Thompson, both of whom will begin their studies at the University of Worcester in September.

Jude (pictured), who earned the Player of the Game award by scoring 26 of her side’s 62 points in the victory over Japan, says confidence in the camp is high.

“I think we’ve done really well - we’re not just relying on one or two people; everyone’s stepping up when needed. The quarter-final should be a good game, we weren’t far off the USA when we played them last and that was only a few weeks ago,” she says.

The team’s achievement in navigating a potentially tricky group is all the more impressive given the fact that a bug has swept through the camp, curtailing the involvement of Sophie, amongst others.

Despite the setbacks though, Maddie believes that the squad have a real chance of going even further into the competition.

She says: “This is the best World Championship I’ve ever had; we’ve been so well prepared for it and that’s thanks to BWB Performance Director Paul Davies and our Head Coach Miles Thompson who have made our programme at the University of Worcester so strong.

“I think the USA is a great match-up for us; we can both press, we’re both quick teams, and neither of us have the very tall forwards like we faced with Canada and Germany. We played the USA in Germany recently and had very close games against them, so we know what they’re going to bring. We’re all looking forward to it and spirits are going to be high.

“We’ve missed Sophie and what she brings to the team, but we were confident all the way through and it was good to see everyone getting the chance to prove themselves out there.”

The quarter-final against the USA will take place tomorrow (Thursday), with the semi-finals scheduled for Friday and the final to take place on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Philip MacCallum and Wheelchair Basketball Canada.