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Wheelchair basketball team gets off to a flying start

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Wheelchair basketball team gets off to a flying start

Georgina Lord is loving the challenge of playing wheelchair basketball.

As someone who admits “never really took part in sport” before coming to the University of Hull, the 21-year-old student has discovered a newfound love for a game that she never expected would set her pulse racing.

But as the joint president of the University of Hull Wheelchair  Club, Georgina says she can now engage in the thrill of competition and enjoy the camaraderie of team sport.

“I just love it,” says Georgina, who is a second year sociology and anthropology student.

“From the first taster session I really enjoyed it and wanted to do more. It just feels so inclusive. I can play with other disabled and non-disabled people and we’re all on a level playing field, so to speak.

“It’s really good at getting the adrenaline flowing. It is very much a contact sport and it can be quite aggressive, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Georgina set up the club in summer 2016 with co-founder, joint president and fellow student James Morris, who had played wheelchair basketball before with National League team the Kingston Panthers.

After taking part in a university sport taster programme, Georgina says she was hooked by basketball and wanted others to join in the fun.

“James and I decided we wanted to give other disabled students the chance to take part in competitive sport so we set up the club,” she says.

“We weren’t sure how many people would be interested but we had around 15 people come and then 12 officially joined the team. Everyone is so lovely and we are all great friends."

“We’re quite a diverse group but we’re all really friendly. In fact, we’re known as the friendly club. Our official name is the Hull University Wheelchair Basketball Club but we’re calling ourselves the Hull Hornets for short.”

A community grant from KCOM meant Georgina and James were able to take the club to the next level.

Using the cash the club was able to buy four specialist sport wheelchairs, tyres and inner tubes.

The equipment enabled the team to take part in the British Wheelchair Basketball’s University Championships at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester, in March.

And, despite being relative novices, the team managed to overcome 14 other clubs to finish second in the contest.

The club has also been nominated as team of the year and for best achievement in a mixed sport at the University of Hull’s annual sport awards, due to be announced in May.

“The money’s definitely helped us get ourselves established and to compete at events like this,” says Georgina.

“Our plan now is for the club to continue after James and I have left the University. We have some first year students in the team who will continue the club going forward and hopefully students at the university will be able to enjoy wheelchair basketball for years to come.”

Brendon Smurthwaite, KCOM’s community coordinator, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to help the club in some small way to get up and running. It’s great that more people can now enjoy this fantastic team sport and that the club is making real waves on a national stage.

“We hope they’ll be shooting hoops for many years to come.”